Embiid carries Philadelphia over OKC while Harden sidelined
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Joel Embiid had 25 points, 19 rebounds and five blocked shots, and the Philadelphia 76ers won as they wait on James Harden, 100-87 over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.
The 76ers gave a tease of Harden’s impending arrival with a flipbook-style video of his career that ended with a shot of The Beard superimposed in a No. 1 jersey. Sixers fans gave the clip a roaring standing ovation.
Harden was acquired from the Brooklyn Nets at Thursday’s trade deadline for 2016 No. 1 pick and three-time All-Star Ben Simmons. Harden has a hamstring injury and is expected to travel to the area this weekend and get evaluated by the team’s medical staff.
Embiid had 11 points and 10 rebounds in the first quarter. Tyrese Maxey scored 24 points and Tobias Harris 17 for the Sixers.
Derrick Favors led the Thunder with 16 points and Lu Dort had 15.
The Sixers, who also sent Seth Curry and Andre Drummond to the Nets, never really pulled away in the second half from the 17-win Thunder.
CAVALIERS 120, PACERS 113
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Caris LeVert scored 22 points in his return to Indiana, and Cleveland’s defense strung together a strong fourth quarter to rally for a win.
The Cavs have won five straight overall and snapped a three-game losing streak that dated to December 2018 at Indianapolis.
Jarrett Allen had 22 points and 14 rebounds for the Cavs, while Kevin Love scored his 7,000th career point since joining Cleveland and finished with 14.
Tyrese Haliburton had 23 points and six assists in his Pacers debut.
BULLS 134, TIMBERWOLVES 122
CHICAGO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan scored 35 points, Nikola Vucevic added 26 and Chicago used a big fourth quarter to beat Minnesota.
Tied with Milwaukee and Cleveland for second place in the Eastern Conference coming in, the Bulls went on a 15-2 run early in the fourth and outscored the Timberwolves 42-31 in the period.
DeRozan scored 16 in the final quarter on the way to his fifth straight game with more than 30 points. Vucevic had eight rebounds and seven assists. Javonte Green tied a career high with 23 points. Coby White scored 12 of his 22 in the fourth and tied a season high with six 3-pointers in the game.
Anthony Edwards scored 31. Karl-Anthony Towns had 27 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. D’Angelo Russell added 18 points.
CELTICS 108, NUGGETS 102
BOSTON (AP) — Jayson Tatum had 24 points, Marcus Smart added 22 points, five steals and two crucial free throws, and Boston held on to beat Denver and get its seventh straight victory.
Robert Williams added 15 points and 16 rebounds to help Boston extend its longest winning streak of the season. Derrick White had 15 points, six rebounds and two assists in his debut with Celtics after being acquired from San Antonio in a trade-deadline deal.
Boston spoiled another big night for Nikola Jokic, who had his 71st career triple-double with 23 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists. Aaron Gordon finished with 17 points.
Denver led by as many as 11 in the first quarter and held a nine-point edge at the half. But the Celtics outscored the Nuggets 57-42 over the final 24 minutes.
HORNETS 141, PISTONS 119
DETROIT (AP) — LaMelo Ball had 31 points and 12 assists, Terry Rozier added a triple-double and Charlotte ended a six-game losing streak against Detroit.
Detroit has lost seven in a row and 11 of 12.
Rozier finished with 25 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Miles Bridges had 25 points for the Hornets, who hadn’t won since beating the Los Angeles Lakers 117-114 on Jan. 28.
Montrezl Harrell had 15 points in his Charlotte debut, one day after being acquired from the Washington Wizards for Vernon Carey Jr., Ish Smith and draft picks.
Saddiq Bey led the Pistons with 25 points, and Cade Cunningham had 12 points and six turnovers in his return after missing six games with a hip injury.
JAZZ 114, MAGIC 99
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Donovan Mitchell scored 24 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Utah over Orlando.
Hassan Whiteside added 15 points and a season-high 18 rebounds for the Jazz. Jordan Clarkson chipped in 18 points, and Royce O’Neale added 14 and five assists. Udoka Azubuike finished with a career-high 12 points on 6-of-6 shooting in his fifth career start.
Utah won its fifth straight home game for the first time this season.
Wendell Carter Jr. scored 22 points and nine rebounds to lead Orlando. Mo Bamba added 16 points and eight boards, and Cole Anthony had 18 points and five assists.
Orlando led just once, but still pushed Utah into the fourth quarter. The Magic cut the deficit to 83-79 on a 3-pointer from Terence Ross with 9:54 left, but the Jazz did not let it get any closer.
SPURS 136, HAWKS 121
ATLANTA (AP) — Dejounte Murray tied his career highs with 32 points and 15 assists to go with 10 rebounds for his 11th triple-double this season, Keldon Johnson scored 26 points and San Antonio cruised to over Atlanta.
The Spurs shot 24% on 33 3-point attempts in Wednesday’s loss at Cleveland, but they got off to a sizzling start. The were 8 for 9 to take a 43-29 lead at the end of the first quarter. San Antonio tied a season high with 18 3-pointers.
Murray was there the whole way, going 11 of 18 from the field, including 8 of 9 on 3-pointers, and leading a relentless defensive attack on the perimeter that held the Hawks, who entered second in the NBA on 3s, to 29.3% beyond the arc.
Bogdan Bogdanovic had 23 points in a reserve role and Trae Young, the league’s third-leading scorer, finished with 16 for Atlanta. The Hawks had won eight of nine at State Farm Arena but began the game 10th in the Eastern Conference.
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