NBA

Embiid leads 76ers past Wizards, Jokic hits double-double as Nuggets edge Clippers

By Sports Desk December 27, 2021

The Philadelphia 76ers moved above .500 as Joel Embiid scored 36 points with 13 rebounds in a 117-96 win over the Washington Wizards on Sunday.

The 76ers center was the dominant player on court, but also involved in a spat with Montrezl Harrell, which saw the latter ejected after a second technical foul in the third quarter.

Embiid had good support from Tobias Harris (23 points, seven rebounds, three assists) and Seth Curry (11 points with three triples, five rebounds, nine assists).

The Wizards had held a six-point quarter-time lead but the 76ers responded with excellent second and third periods, totalling 67-41 to take control of the game.


Jokic double-double leads Nugs past Clippers

Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic led the Denver Nuggets past the Los Angeles Clippers 103-100 in a thriller with the Serbian center finishing with 26 points, 22 rebounds and eight assists. Youngster Brandon Boston Jr, who had 18 points, missed a three-point attempt on the buzzer to force over-time. Jokic becomes the first player to record 25 or more points, 20 or more rebounds and five or more assists in back-to-back games since Charles Barkley in 1988.

Veteran Kevin Love scored 22 points making six-of-nine from beyond the arc, with nine rebounds from 18 minutes on court as the Cleveland Cavaliers thrashed the Toronto Raptors 144-99 to improve to 20-13. The 45-point win was the Cavs' largest margin since 1991, when they had a franchise-best 68-point win over the Miami Heat.

Zach LaVine scored 32 points including five three-pointers while DeMar DeRozan added 24 points as the Chicago Bulls got past the Indiana Pacers 113-105.  

 

Morant still finding his feet

Ja Morant continues to adjust after returning from injury, shooting eight-of-18 from the field including zero-of-three from three-point range while having four turnovers in the Memphis Grizzlies' 127-102 win over the Sacramento Kings. Morant did finish with 18 points and nine assists.

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    Joel Embiid is a "warrior" and is likely to play on through injury as the Philadelphia 76ers aim to turn matters around against the New York Knicks.

    The 76ers went 1-0 down in their playoff series against the Knicks on Saturday, losing 111-104 at Madison Square Garden.

    Embiid, last year's MVP, finished with 29 points, but had to sit out the final 2:37 of the first half after a brilliant play in which he passed the ball to himself off the backboard.

    He landed heavily, however, and headed straight for the locker room before returning for the second half.

    It was Embiid's second injury scare in the space of eight days, but coach Sixers Nick Nurse is confident he will be fit to feature in Game 2.

    "He really is a warrior, and he's battling," Nurse said of Embiid.

    "I think he absolutely wants to play.

    "I knew when I went in at halftime that they were checking him out, and that he was up and moving. 

    "They didn't rule him out yet. They just took him all the way to the end there to get him ruled back in."

    Tyrese Maxey is unsurprised by Embiid's resilience.

    "Nothing with Joel surprises me now," said Maxey, who finished with 33 points.

    "He's always a fighter. He's always going to try and give it his all for his team. So if he thinks he can go, he'll for sure be out there."

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    The Philadelphia 76ers are hopeful Joel Embiid will be available for Game 2 of their playoff series against the New York Knicks after he suffered an injury scare during their defeat in Game 1.

    Embiid had 29 points, also adding eight rebounds and six assists, as the Sixers succumbed to a 111-104 defeat at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

    He made one stunning play near the end of the first half, finishing with a one-handed dunk after passing to himself off the backboard, but that came at a cost as he then left for the final two minutes and 37 seconds of the second quarter.

    Embiid seemed to land awkwardly on his left leg after that play and immediately dropped to the ground before getting up and walking straight to the locker room. 

    Embiid rejoined his team-mates on the floor at the start of the second half, but with the reigning MVP recently missing two months after undergoing meniscus surgery, the incident left fans concerned.

    Philadelphia coach Nick Nurse is positive regarding his chances of featuring in Game 2 on Monday, saying: "He really is a warrior, and he's battling.

    "I think he absolutely wants to play. I knew when I went in at halftime that they were checking him out and that he was up and moving. 

    "They did say we are seeing, they didn't rule him out yet. They just took him all the way to the end there to get him ruled back in."

    The Sixers outscored the Knicks by 14 points during Embiid's 37 minutes on the court, being outscored by 21 points during the 11 minutes he spent out of the game. 

    Tyrese Maxey, who led Philadelphia with 33 points and was 14-of-26 shooting, says Embiid will suit up for Monday's contest if physically able to.

    "Nothing with Joel surprises me now," Maxey said. "He's always a fighter. He's always going to try and give it his all for his team. So if he thinks he can go, he'll for sure be out there."

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