The Sixers found themselves in a tough predicament heading into game five against the Wizards. In light of the news on Joel Embiid's knee injury, they would be taking the court without their starting center.
Embiid has been the focal point for the Sixers all season. Replacing his production and impact on the floor is almost impossible. No single player was going to fill in for Embiid. It was going to take a group effort.
Before Game 5, George Hill spoke to the media following the team's pregame walkthrough. He touched on the team's mindset as they prepared to take the floor without the MVP finalist.
"We just have to have the next man up mentality. We still have a job at hand and still have a great opportunity to try to close out this series tonight on our home floor in front of our home fans," said Hill.
Moments like these are where having good veterans becomes invaluable. Having that veteran leadership in the locker room is crucial for situations like this. Their voice and presence give the younger players someone to lean on in this time of need.
In a collective effort, the Sixers were able to walk away with a victory. The group embraced the "next man up" mentality as multiple players stepped up to play a part in the win.
Six different Sixers finished in double-figures on Wednesday, with three of them coming off the bench. Furkan Korkmaz and Tyrese Maxey were bright spots late in game four and provided a nice spark again in game five.
Dwight Howard showed in game five why he was a great addition in the offseason. As the only active center, it was on him to anchor the defense in longer stretches. Howard finished the game with 12 points, eight rebounds, and erased three shots.
A collective team win like this is a testament to the continuity within this team. The Sixers did not let the injury news derail them and came together to pull out a win for the big fella. Wrapping things up in game five gives the team three days to rest and regroup before kicking off the second round.
Wednesday's win showed that this team is willing and able to remain competitive until Embiid is able to rejoin them on the floor.
Kevin McCormick covers the Philadelphia 76ers for South Jersey's 97.3 ESPN and Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCNBA.