Nikola Jokic lauded Joel Embiid's "historic" form after the reigning NBA MVP came out on top in Tuesday's matchup between the two superstars.

Embiid finished with 41 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists, scoring 10 consecutive points in a crucial fourth-quarter run as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Denver Nuggets 126-121.

Jokic, the reigning NBA Finals MVP and two-time league MVP, scored 24 points and had 19 rebounds and three assists.

Embiid was unable to extend his 16-game streak of having at least 30 points and 10 rebounds, though only Wilt Chamberlain has had a longer such run in NBA history.

"He's a really good player," Jokic said of Embiid.

"He's playing historic right now. He's averaging 30-something points every night, and that's extremely hard to do, especially every night.

"But I mean, I'm not playing against him. I'm playing against Philadelphia. It was a good matchup."

Embiid returned the compliment Jokic's way, saying: "Both of us, we just want to play basketball and win some games.

"He deserves [the title of best player] until you knock him [off]. He's the Finals MVP. Until someone else takes that away, then you can claim that."

Not that Embiid is lacking self-confidence.

"But then again, I also believe in myself," he added with a smile. "I'll keep it at that. I've just got to get there.

"I don't think I care what people decide who's the best. I know I want to be the best, and I'm going to do whatever it takes to be the best.

"But sometimes you've got to be able to win as a team. You've got to do the best job possible to make sure that you put yourself and the team in the best position possible to win. And it seems like if you want to be the best, you've got to find a way to win. So, that's my goal."

The Sixers have won their last three games. They sit third in the Eastern Conference with a 26-13 record, behind the Milwaukee Bucks (28-12) and the Boston Celtics (31-9).

"I said it at the beginning of the season. Y'all keep talking about Boston, Milwaukee. That's fine. They might be better than us, they might be more talented than us, but I still believe we've got a chance. We just need a little bit of luck," Embiid said.

"Like I always say, we've got to be perfect. We've got to be in sync together. We've got to play with each other. It's been working pretty well this year."

Embiid's teammate Tobias Harris, who added 24 points to the Sixers' tally, added: "It was a big game for us – playing the defending champs – we wanted to see where we were at.

"We've just got to stay at it, and keep working."

Asked about playing alongside Embiid and against Jokic, Harris said: "Both of those guys are just stellar basketball players. The way they handle their business on a court, there's a reason why [the Nuggets] won a Championship last year and Joel's put in tremendous work all year."

The Nuggets have been inconsistent after going on a six-game winning streak in December, losing four of their nine outings since then.

Coach Michael Malone, though, did not seem overly concerned about Tuesday's defeat.

"This was a game that went down to the wire," he said. 

"We came up short. Joel [Embiid] is a hell of a talent."

Joel Embiid had 41 points and 10 rebounds and got the best of fellow superstar Nikola Jokić in the Philadelphia 76ers’ 126-121 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday.

In a matchup of the last two NBA MVPs, Embiid had his 18th straight 30-point game, tying Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor for the sixth-longest streak in NBA history.

Jokic had 25 points and 19 rebounds, including 11 offensive boards.

Embiid converted a 3-point play with 5:30 remaining to extend Philadelphia’s lead to 118-113 and followed with his third 3-pointer of the game for an eight-point advantage.

Tyrese Maxey scored 25 points and Tobias Harris added 24 for the 76ers, who have won three straight after a three-game skid.

Michael Porter Jr. had 20 points and Jamal Murray finished with 17 and 10 assists for the Nuggets.

 

Suns stun Kings with furious comeback

Kevin Durant made two free throws with 1.8 seconds left and the Phoenix Suns stunned the Sacramento Kings with a game-ending 23-4 run in a 119-117 victory.

Grayson Allen matched a franchise record with 9 3-pointers and scored 29 points for the Suns, who faced a 113-96 deficit with just over five minutes to play.

Allen sparked the run with a 3-pointer and Durant hit a pair from deep before Eric Gordon drained consecutive 3-pointers to forge a 115-all tie.

Durant’s free throws with 30 seconds to play put the Suns ahead 117-115 but De’Aaron Fox tied it with a jumper with 19 seconds remaining. But he then fouled Durant, who was attempting a long jumper.

Domantas Sabonis notched his 11th triple-double of the season with 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for Sacramento.

 

George scores 38 in Clippers’ win

Paul George scored 18 of his season-high 38 points in the fourth quarter and the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, 128-117 for their ninth win in 11 games.

Kawhi Leonard each added 16 points and Mason Plumlee had a season-best 14 in his first start of the season for the Clippers, who won their sixth straight at home.

Jalen Williams scored 25 points and Lu Dort and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander contributed 19 apiece as Oklahoma City dropped its second in a row after a 9-3 stretch.

Joel Embiid is simply focusing on staying healthy rather than paying too much attention to his chances of picking up a second MVP Award.

Embiid has played 28 times for the Philadelphia 76ers this season, and returned from his latest injury layoff to finish with 41 points and 10 rebounds in a 124-115 win over the Houston Rockets on Monday.

That was Embiid's seventh 40-point double-double of the season, and he now has 42 games of at least 40 points and 10 rebounds, the seventh-highest tally in the history of the league.

However, the reigning league MVP can miss only eight of the remaining 44 regular-season games if he is to be considered for the award this time around.

Embiid, though, suggested that is not his main concern.

"It doesn't matter how many games I play; the goal is to be healthy the rest of the year," Embiid said Monday.

"I've already done it. If I have a chance to get a second one, I'll do it. I'm not going to force myself or push for it.

"My game is always going to speak for itself. We're winning. That's the main thing. We've got to keep winning and you put in the stats to be in the [MVP] conversation that's great, too.

"But at the end of the day, if there's something going on, and I can't meet the requirement for the amount of games played to qualify for that, then so be it."

Philadelphia have won just three games without Embiid this season, losing seven. They are 22-6 with him in the team.

His latest issue concerns a knee problem, but Embiid hopes he is over the worst of it.

"We look at the long run and what's coming up next," Embiid said.

"Hopefully it doesn't swell up again."

Next up for the 76ers is a clash with Nikola Jokic's Denver Nuggets on Tuesday.

"They're best team in the league, best player in the league and we've got to try and do our best to get a win," Embiid said.

"It's fun. I like the competition. Who doesn't want to play against the best?"

Nick Nurse had no excuses after his injury-hit Philadelphia 76ers team fell to a second straight defeat against the Utah Jazz on Saturday.

The 76ers were without reigning MVP Joel Embiid because of swelling in his knee, while Tobias Harris, De-Anthony Melton, Robert Covington and Furkan Korkmaz were also out injured.

Philadelphia could not overcome those absences, going down 120-109 against the Jazz after suffering a heavy 128-92 defeat to the New York Knicks in their previous game.

Despite his team's injury troubles, Nurse insists the 76ers must perform better, telling reporters: "I believe even though you're missing five guys, that those guys can collectively play together better than that,"

"They can execute better. They can defend better than that. They can make those open shots. There were plenty of shots to step into and make in that game.

"When you’re short-handed, you got to play better than that. You've got to shoot the ball better and you've got to finish better than that."

Tyrese Maxey, who finished with 25 points but made just one of his eight three-pointers against the Jazz, acknowledged the team must play better going forward.

"Coach [Nurse] said we just didn't play hard enough," Maxey said. "He felt like the guys who came in, we could've played a lot harder and with a lot more force so he said we'll work on that.

"We'll get back to doing that and playing that way."

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander poured in 36 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder held off the NBA-leading Boston Celtics, 127-123 on Tuesday for their fifth straight win.

Josh Giddey had 23 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Thunder, who have won eight of nine. During that stretch, they have beaten defending champion Denver twice, ended the Clippers’ nine-game win streak, beat West-leading Minnesota by 23 and now the Celtics.

Kristaps Porzingis scored 34 points and Jayson Tatum added 30 as Boston had a six-game winning streak snapped.

Oklahoma City opened a 108-90 lead in the fourth quarter, but the Celtics rallied to cut the deficit to 121-119.

Giddey hit a pair of free throws with 12.1 seconds left to put the Thunder up 4 before Porzingis hit a deep shot in the left corner with 3.7 seconds left to make it a two-point game.

Gilgeous-Alexander sealed the victory with a pair of free throws with 2.8 to play.

Embiid leads 76ers in return

Joel Embiid tallied 31 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in his return from a sprained right ankle to lift the Philadelphia 76ers to a 110-97 victory over the Chicago Bulls.

Embiid, who missed all four games on the 76ers’ holiday road trip, was 10 of 20 from the field and notched his seventh career triple-double in the third quarter. He extended his franchise records with 15 straight 30-point games and 14 consecutive games of 30 points and 10 rebounds.

Tyrese Maxey had 21 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. added 16 for the 76ers, who have won three straight and seven of eight at home.

DeMar DeRozan led the Bulls with 16 points and Andre Drummond had 11 with 17 rebounds.

Rozier helps Hornets snap 11-game skid

Terry Rozier scored 14 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter after missing a game due to illness as the Charlotte Hornets stopped an 11-game skid with a 111-104 win over the Sacramento Kings.

Rozier shot 13 of 24 from the field and handed out six assists, while Miles Bridges added 27 points for Charlotte, which played without rookie Brandon Miller (bruised left hip), LaMelo Ball (right ankle sprain), Gordon Hayward (left calf strain), Mark Williams (bruised lower back) and Frank Ntilikina (left tibia fracture).

De’Aaron Fox scored 30 points for Sacramento and Domantas Sabonis had 23 with 19 rebounds for his 15th straight double-double, tied for the NBA’s longest streak this season.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. enjoyed a "special" Christmas Day as he stepped up in Jimmy Butler's absence, scoring a career-high 31 points for the Miami Heat as they overcame the Philadelphia 76ers.

Butler was ruled out for a third straight game with a calf injury, but Miami maintained their 100 per cent record in those contests with a 119-113 victory at Kaseya Center.

The Sixers – who were themselves without Joel Embiid due to a sprained ankle – erased a 21-point Miami lead in the third quarter, but Jaquez scored 10 of his points in the fourth to put the visitors away.

That made the 22-year-old the first rookie to manage at least 25 points and 10 rebounds on December 25 since Patrick Ewing for the New York Knicks in 1985, and he was delighted to see his hard work pay off on the big stage.

"It's definitely special," Jaquez said. "Great to get a win, a career night, on Christmas... I grew up watching these games. 

"To be able to play and have a career night, I just go back to all the hard work, late nights in the gym, just preparing for moments like this."

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who is now 9-0 on Christmas, said of Jaquez's performance: "I don't think I called one play for him tonight, literally. 

"I mean, they were in his zone most of the second half. But throughout the rest of the course of the game, I definitely did not call one play for him. 

"He did it with offensive rebounding, transitions, cuts, timely threes, just a lot of plays in between, so you don't really think that it's a 30-point game."

Tyrese Maxey endured a difficult outing for the Sixers, shooting 4-for-20 and finishing with just 12 points, well down on his season average of 25.9.

The star guard lamented his poor shooting as he said of the Miami defense: "They did the normal stuff that I see when I'm out there without Joel.

"The blitzing, the hard showing, but for the most part, I got some really good looks and some shots that I make I don't know, four or five times out of 10. So I guess it was just one of those days."

The Philadelphia 76ers will monitor Joel Embiid after the reigning NBA MVP suffered an ankle injury in Friday's 121-111 win over the Toronto Raptors, says head coach Nick Nurse.

Embiid finished with 31 points and 10 rebounds as the Sixers improved to 20-8 with their eighth win in the space of nine games, his 13th straight outing with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds.

That is the longest such run in the league since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar achieved the feat in 16 successive games for the Milwaukee Bucks in 1971-72, with Elgin Baylor (15 in 1961-62) and Wilt Chamberlain (13 on six occasions) the only other players to do so in at least 13 straight.

All of Embiid's points were scored after he landed awkwardly on his left ankle while trying to block a shot with 5:25 remaining in the first quarter. 

With a four-game road stretch awaiting Philadelphia next week, starting against the Miami Heat on Christmas Day, Nurse says the team will keep a close eye on Embiid's condition. 

"Obviously, he stayed in the game and it didn't change his rotation at all," Nurse said of the injury. "But he played through it and I'm pretty sure he'll be sore tomorrow. 

"We'll have to monitor it over the next couple of days before we get on the plane to Miami."

Asked about the extent of the injury immediately after the win, Embiid said: "I don't know. I'll get it checked out. We'll see."

Embiid has now reached the 30-point mark in each of his last 14 games, the most in a row in the NBA since James Harden did so in 32 successive contests in 2018-19.

The six-time All-Star said staying calm and not forcing things after a slow start was the key to his performance, adding: "I saw that I wasn't being aggressive.

"I didn't force anything. I think I took two shots in the first six or seven minutes, but I just let the game come to me.

"It came to me and then in the third quarter, I just found opportunities and made a few shots."

Joel Embiid shook off an ankle injury to finish with 31 points and 10 rebounds in the Philadelphia 76ers’ 121-111 win over the Toronto Raptors on Friday.

Embiid scored all 31 points after landing awkwardly trying to block a shot with 5:25 remaining in the first quarter.

He recorded at least 30 points and 10 rebounds for the 13th straight game, the longest in the NBA since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did it in 16 consecutive games in 1971-72. Embiid has scored 30 or more in 14 games in a row, the most in the NBA since James Harden’s 32-game run in 2018-19.

Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey each scored 33 points, marking just the second time in franchise history three players have scored 30-plus points in a game. The other was in 1961 when Dick Barnett, Hal Greer and Dolph Schayes did it for the Syracuse Nationals.

Philadelphia has won eight of nine overall and six straight meetings with Toronto.

Pascal Siakam led the Raptors with 31 points.

Young makes history in Hawks’ loss

Trae Young had his sixth straight game with at least 30 points and 10 assists, but it wasn’t enough as the Miami Heat got 30 points from Tyler Herro in a 122-113 victory.

Young finished with 30 points and 13 assists for his sixth consecutive game with at least 30 and 10. That ties the second-longest such streak in NBA history, one that only Oscar Robertson has topped.

Robertson had such a streak twice – a six-game stretch in January 1964, then a seven-game run spanning December to January 1965.

Duncan Robinson had 21 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter and Jaime Jaquez Jr. added 19 for the Heat, who overcame an 11-point deficit in the third quarter.

Sabonis has triple-double to lift Kings

Domantas Sabonis had 28 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds for his fourth triple-double of the season as the Sacramento Kings rolled to a 120-105 win over the short-handed Phoenix Suns.

De’Aaron Fox added 23 points and broke Mike Bibby's Sacramento-era assists record in the third quarter.

Kevin Durant scored 28 points and Devin Booker contributed 24 for the Suns, who have lost four of five to fall to .500 (14-14).

Phoenix played without Bradley Beal (ankle), Josh Okogie (hip strain) and Jusuf Nurkic (personal).  

Tyrese Maxey warned the Philadelphia 76ers must not take Joel Embiid for granted after the NBA MVP's superb showing against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Embiid scored a season-high 51 points and added 12 rebounds as the 76ers won for the seventh time in eight games by casting aside the Western Conference leaders 127-113 on Tuesday.

It is the 12th straight game that Embiid has had at least 30 points and 10 rebounds. It is the longest such streak in the NBA since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar went on a 16-game run for the Milwaukee Bucks back in 1971-72.

The only other players to have 12 or more games of 30-10 in league history besides Embiid and Abdul-Jabbar are Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and Walt Bellamy.

Maxey, who scored 15 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, knows the Sixers must not be overly reliant on their talisman.

"I tell everybody, I try not to take it for granted – he does it every night, so consistently, that it's hard not to," Maxey said of Embiid.

"But we expect it of him, he knows we expect it of him. He goes out and performs every single night."

Sixers coach Nick Nurse added: "[Embiid's] continuing to get better and he's just doing enough different things rhythmically to keep those guys guessing. 

"He has a feel that if guys step into him, he can get them. And I like when he goes downhill."

As for Embiid, he has no interest in statistics and records unless he is on a winning team.

"We're winning and that's all that matters," he said.

"Stats are great and it's great to put up stats. But if it comes with a loss, then that's a different story. If it comes with a win, it means a lot.

"That's one of the best teams in the league, the best team in the West. We had to get them back. We had some rough patches but kept pushing and got the win."

Maxey, meanwhile, is grateful for the belief Embiid is showing in him.

"He puts the responsibility on me because he believes in me, and I'm glad to just put in the work and try to help him as much as I possibly can, it's been great," he said.

Joel Embiid continued his torrid stretch with a season-high 51 points and 12 rebounds and the Philadelphia 76ers bounced back with a 127-113 victory over the Western Conference-leading Minnesota Timberwolves.

Embiid notched his 12th straight game with at least 30 points and 10-plus rebounds for the NBA’s longest such streak since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 16-game run for the Milwaukee Bucks in 1971-72.

The only other players to have 12 or more games of 30-10 in league history besides Embiid and Abdul-Jabbar are Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and Walt Bellamy.

Embiid is averaging a whopping 41.4 points on 61.5 percent shooting and 12.9 rebounds in his last eight games.

Tyrese Maxey scored 15 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, most of those coming during a five-minute stretch at the start of the period when Embiid was on the bench.

Philadelphia won for the seventh time in eight games, bouncing back from a 108-104 loss to Chicago on Monday.

Anthony Edwards had 27 points and Karl-Anthony Towns added 21 for Minnesota, which began the day with the league’s best record.

 

Clippers defeat Mavericks for 9th straight win

Kawhi Leonard scored 30 points and the Los Angeles Clippers held off the Dallas Mavericks, 120-111 for their ninth consecutive win.

Normal Powell had 21 points off the bench and James Harden had 17 and 11 assists for the Clippers, who nearly blew a 22-point lead before holding on for their longest winning streak since a 10-game run in 2015-16.

Amir Coffey scored 12 points in his second start of the season in place of Paul George, who sat out with an illness.

Luka Dončić’s franchise record of 11 consecutive games with at least 30 points ended with 28. He recorded his sixth triple-double with 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

 

Herro leads Heat past Magic

Tyler Herro had 28 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and Bam Adebayo added 18 points to lift the Miami Heat to a 115-106 win over the Orlando Magic in a matchup of the top teams in the Southeast Division.

Herro was 10 of 17 from the field and 4 of 5 from 3-point range, and Haywood Highsmith, one of four Miami reserves in double figures, made four of the Heat’s 15 3s and finished with a season-high 15 points.

Cole Anthony scored 20 points and Franz Wagner added 15 as the Magic lost their third straight.

James Harden scored a season-high 35 points to lead the scorching Los Angeles Clippers to an eighth consecutive win with Monday's 151-127 blowout of the Indiana Pacers.

Kawhi Leonard added 28 points and Paul George had 27 as the Clippers' two other stars also had big nights to keep the league's hottest team rolling. Harden chipped in nine assists as well, while Ivica Zubac compiled an 18-point, 16-rebound double-double.

The Clippers took control with a 10-0 second-quarter run that gave them a 67-57 lead with under 3 1/2 minutes left in the first half, then headed into the break with a 77-66 advantage.

Los Angeles then outscored the Pacers by a 37-28 margin in the third quarter to stretch the margin further, and Harden ended any hopes of an Indiana comeback by putting up 21 points on 7-of-8 shooting in the fourth.

The Pacers lost their fourth straight game despite a career-high 34 points from Bennedict Mathurin. Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana's leading scorer for the season, dished out 11 assists but was held to eight points on 3-of-12 shooting. 

Nuggets blow out Mavericks in clash of West contenders

Jamal Murray scored 22 points, Aaron Gordon tied a season high with 21, and the Denver Nuggets cruised to a 130-104 win over the short-handed Dallas Mavericks in a showdown between two of the Western Conference's top teams.

The defending NBA champion Nuggets shot 56.3 per cent from the field and led from start to finish en route to a fourth victory in five games. Reggie Jackson delivered 20 points off the bench on 9-of-12 shooting, while Gordon finished 7 of 9 and Murray was perfect on four attempts from 3-point range.

Dallas got 38 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists from Luka Dončić, but couldn't overcome the absence of fellow star Kyrie Irving as well as key contributors Josh Green and Dereck Lively and lost for the second time in three games.

Gordon had 16 first-half points as the Nuggets took a 68-59 lead into the break, then extended their advantage to 20 points after a 10-0 run late in the third quarter put the Mavericks at a 94-74 deficit.

Denver then rested its entire starting lineup in the fourth quarter while building a lead as large as 36 points.

Bulls continue surge, snap 76ers' six-game winning streak

Coby White racked up 24 points, eight rebounds and nine assists as the Chicago Bulls continued their recent hot play and cooled off the Philadelphia 76ers with a 108-104 victory.

Chicago has now won six of its last nine games following a 5-14 start despite two-time All-Star Zach LaVine being sidelined by a foot injury. Nikola Vucevic had 23 points and eight rebounds for the Bulls, who had a 12-point lead after three quarters reduced to one late before holding on.

The 76ers had a six-game winning streak halted despite another huge performance from Joel Embiid, who totalled 40 points, 14 rebounds and six assists. 

Tyrese Maxey added 29 points and eight assists, but no other Philadelphia player managed more than eight points.

White had 16 first-half points as Chicago took a 55-44 lead into the break. Chicago was up 81-69 entering the fourth quarter before the 76ers rallied late to pull within 105-104 on a Maxey 3-pointer with 33.2 seconds left.

Embiid misfired on two shots afterward, though, and Chicago's DeMar DeRozan sealed the game by making three of four free throws in the final stages.

 

Joel Embiid "just wants to dominate" in every single game after he starred again for the Philadelphia 76ers.

The 76ers put the Detroit Pistons away with the minimum of fuss on Friday, winning 124-92.

Embiid, last season's NBA MVP, tallied up 35 points and added 13 rebounds as the Sixers recorded a second win over Detroit in the space of two days.

With that haul, Embiid became the first player to have 675 points and 200 rebounds across his first 20 games of a season since Wilt Chamberlain in the 1964-65 campaign.

"It's great to be in that class," Embiid said when that statistic was put to him after the game.

"I just want to dominate every single night."

Tyrese Maxey complimented Embiid with 19 points, and he said of his teammate: "He is getting better, which is scary.

"He made a layup today that I like to do where he made a Eurostep and laid it high off the glass. He's 7-foot-2 and he runs the floor at the same speed I do. It's scary."

Sixers coach Nick Nurse added: "You got to give our guys credit.

"They played hard and they made improvements defensively on the stuff we saw from the last game that we tried to work on the last couple days. Whoever hit the floor was out there trying to do the stuff we worked on and it paid off."

While Philadelphia have a quick turnaround as they face the Charlotte Hornets, the Pistons are licking their wounds after a franchise-record 22 straight losses.

Only four teams have lost more successive games in a single season.

"It's deflating," Detroit coach Monty Williams said. "It is what it is. It's a lot of repetitive games."

Jalen Brunson poured in a career-high 50 points and hit all nine of his 3-point attempts Friday in the New York Knicks’ 139-122 victory over the Phoenix Suns.

Brunson was 17 of 23 from the field and 7 of 9 from the free-throw line with nine assists, six rebounds and five steals in 35-plus minutes.

He is the first player in franchise history to score 50 points while making all nine 3s.

Julius Randle had 23 points, eight rebounds and six assists to help New York snap a three-game road skid.

Kevin Durant scored 29 points and Devin Booker added 28 for the Suns, who lost guard Bradley Beal to an ankle injury in the first quarter.

Phoenix could be without a member of its All-Star trio for another extended period. Durant, Booker and Beal have played just one game together this season before Friday.

76ers extend Pistons’ losing streak to 22

Joel Embiid had another big game against the Detroit Pistons with 35 points and 13 rebounds on Friday and the Philadelphia 76ers sent the Detroit Pistons to their franchise-record 22nd straight loss, 124-92.

The Pistons, who lost at home to Philadelphia on Wednesday, surpassed the franchise record set at the end of the 1979-80 season and start of 1980-81. Detroit's slide is the sixth-longest single-season skid in NBA history.

The 76ers hold the overall losing streak record with 28 straight, set at the end of 2014-15 and start of 2015-16.

In three wins this season against the Pistons, Embiid has averaged 36.3 points and 13.3 rebounds. He is the first NBA player with at least 675 points and 200 rebounds in the first 20 games of a season since Wilt Chamberlain in 1964-65.

Philadelphia more than doubled Detroit in the second quarter, outscoring the Pistons 35-17 en route to a 61-39 lead at halftime.

James Wiseman had 20 points for Detroit, which dropped to 2-23.

Spurs beat Lakers to snap 18-game slide

Devin Vassell scored a career-high 36 points and Victor Wembanyama had 13 points and 15 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs beat the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers, 129-115 to end an 18-game losing streak.

The victory was the first for San Antonio since defeating Phoenix on Nov. 2 and snapped the longest losing streak in franchise history, topping a 16-game slide last season.

LeBron James returned after a one-game absence with 23 points and 10 rebounds, but the Lakers felt the loss of Anthony Davis, who sat out with a hip injury after he scored 37 points in a 122-119 win over the Spurs on Wednesday.

Los Angeles was also without starters D’Angelo Russell and Cam Reddish.

Monty Williams wants to see more anger in the Detroit Pistons locker room after the team tied their franchise-record losing streak by suffering a 21st straight loss against the Philadelphia 76ers.

The NBA's worst team slumped to 2-22 with a 129-111 defeat at Little Caesars Arena on Wednesday as reigning MVP Joel Embiid finished with 41 points for the Sixers, for whom Tobias Harris added 21.

The Pistons' 21st successive defeat saw them match the worst losing run in their history, which came between the end of the 1979-80 season and the start of 1980-81.

Their current run is also the sixth-longest single-season losing streak in NBA history, and things could get worse before they get better when they travel to Philadelphia for a rematch on Friday.

Detroit were on the back foot from the start as they were outscored 39-26 in the first quarter, leading head coach Williams to demand more aggression from his team.

"I don't want anyone to be happy in this situation," Williams said. 

"I want to see an ornery locker room that's tired, not just of losing, but tired of missing shots and tired of giving up 39-point quarters."

The record for the worst single-season losing streak in NBA history is held jointly by the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers and the 2013-14 Sixers, both of whom lost 26 games in a row. Philadelphia also hold the overall record of 28 successive losses, set between the end of 2014-15 and start of 2015-16.

Williams was also less-than-impressed with the Pistons being outrebounded 52-35 across the course of the game, adding: "Rebounding has been a point of emphasis for 24 games… even back in the preseason.

"We have to be able to be a team that can finish a play."

While Detroit are in a rut, center James Wiseman suggested there was little they could do to stop Embiid in his current form, with the Sixers star averaging 40.8 points over his last four games.

"We tried our best," Wiseman said. "I took on the challenge and tried to contain him. We didn't back down from him."

Giannis Antetokounmpo poured in a franchise-record 64 points on Wednesday in the Milwaukee Bucks’ 140-126 win over the Indiana Pacers.

Antetokounmpo surpassed the team record of 57 points set by Michael Redd in 2006 in a loss to the Utah Jazz. The previous career high for the Milwaukee superstar was 55 points in a victory over the Washington Wizards on Jan. 3.

He was 20 of 28 from the field in this one, 24 of 32 on free throws and had 14 rebounds.

Damian Lillard added 21 points and Bobby Portis had 13 for the Bucks, who lost to the Pacers in the semifinals of the In-Season Tournament on Thursday.

Tyrese Haliburton and Myles Turner each scored 22 points for Indiana, which had won four in a row, excluding a loss to the Lakers in the championship game of the tournament on Saturday.

Antetokounmpo was tackled by Aaron Nesmith on a play underneath with 10:10 left, setting off a brief exchange involving several players. Nesmith was called for a flagrant-1, and Nesmith and Portis were assessed technical fouls.

Embiid, 76ers deal Pistons 21st straight loss

Joel Embiid scored 30 of his 41 points in the first half as the Philadelphia 76ers sent the Detroit Pistons to their 21st straight loss, 129-11 on Wednesday to open a home-and-home series.

The Pistons, who haven’t won since Oct. 28, matched the longest losing streak in franchise history, set at the end of the 1979-80 season and the start of 1980-81. It is the sixth-longest single-season losing streak in NBA history.

Only the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers and the 2013-14 76ers (26 in a row), along with the 1995-96 Vancouver Grizzlies, the 1997-98 Denver Nuggets and the 2010-11 Charlotte Bobcats (23 straight) have lost more consecutive games in a season.

Philadelphia holds the overall mark of 28, set at the end of 2014-15 and start of 2015-16.

Bojan Bogdanovic led Detroit with a season-high 33 points on 11-of-19 shooting.

Former Piston Tobias Harris had 21 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. added 17 for the 76ers, winners of four straight.

Davis, Lakers hold off Wembanyama, Spurs

Anthony Davis scored 37 points and the Los Angeles Lakers overcame Victor Wembanyama’s big night in a 122-119 victory, extending the Spurs’ franchise-record losing streak to 18.

Davis rolled his left ankle in the opening seconds but refused to exit and went on to shoot 10 for 15 from the field and score 24 points in the first half.

Taurean Prince had 17 points and Austin Reaves added 15 to help the Lakers win for the fifth time in six games despite missing LeBron James, who sat out the first of two straight games in San Antonio because of a left calf injury.

Wembanyama had 30 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks, but the Spurs have remained winless since Nov. 2. He became the first rookie with 30 points, 10 boards and six blocks in a game since Spurs superstar Tim Duncan in 1998.

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