NBA roundup: Embiid shines as Sixers down Nuggets, Suns rally stuns Kings


NBA roundup: Embiid shines as Sixers down Nuggets, Suns rally stuns Kings

Joel Embiid (L) alongside Denver Nuggets star Nicola Jokic
Joel Embiid (L) alongside Denver Nuggets star Nicola JokicAFP
Joel Embiid conjured a second straight 40-point performance to outduel Nikola Jokic as the Philadelphia 76ers downed the NBA-champion Denver Nuggets 126-121 on Tuesday.

A heavyweight showdown pitting reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Embiid against Denver's two-time MVP Jokic did not disappoint as the two teams went toe-to-toe from the outset.

Embiid, who scored 41 points on his return from injury in the Sixers' win over Houston on Monday, was once again in superb form, finishing with 41 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists.

Embiid was imperious down the stretch, scoring 11 points in the fourth quarter as the Sixers transformed a six-point deficit into victory.

"I'm just letting the game come to me, but the credit goes to my teammates - they put me in the best position to succeed and they trust me, that's the key," Embiid said after a game watched by a sellout crowd of 19,775 at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center.

"I would not be doing what I'm doing without the trust they have in me," Embiid added.

Embiid embraced Jokic following the final buzzer, with the two men sharing a friendly exchange after a hard-fought game.

"I just told him he's the best player in the league," Embiid said.

"He won a championship, and that's the best team in the league and he's a finals MVP. I just told him to keep going."

The game had been finely poised at 111-111 with just over seven minutes remaining.

Embiid re-entered the fray just after Jokic checked back in from the bench, and it was the Cameroon-born power forward who ultimately seized control of the contest.

A sublime running reverse layup from Embiid put the Sixers 115-113 ahead, before a jump shot increased the Philadelphia cushion to four points with 5min 30sec remaining.

A free throw and a 27-foot three-pointer left the Sixers 121-113 ahead, and Embiid then added a jump shot to extend Philadelphia's advantage to 10 points at 123-113 to effectively seal victory.

Suns late show topples Kings

Embiid received scoring support from Tyrese Maxey with 25 points - including four three-pointers - while Tobias Harris pitched in with 24 points. Kelly Oubre Jr. added 11 points.

Jokic led the Denver scoring with 25 points, 19 rebounds and three assists.

Michael Porter Jr. finished with 20 points and Jamal Murray added 17.

Philadelphia improved to 26-13 to remain in third place in the Eastern Conference standings, trailing first placed Boston (31-9) with Milwaukee second in the table on 28-12.

Denver remain third in the Western Conference on 28-14, behind Minnesota (28-11) and Oklahoma City (27-12).

In other games on Tuesday, the Phoenix Suns produced an extraordinary fourth quarter rally to eclipse the Sacramento Kings 119-117 in Arizona.

Phoenix looked to be heading for certain defeat as they trailed by 22 points with 8min 22sec remaining.

But an incredible 32-8 run by Phoenix in the final minutes turned the game on its head to seal a remarkable comeback.

Kevin Durant sparked the rally for Phoenix with 15 points in the fourth quarter, part of a 27-point haul. Grayson Allen led the Phoenix scoring with 29 points.

Eric Gordon tied the game for Phoenix with a three-pointer with 45 seconds remaining, before Durant hit two free throws to put the Suns 117-115 ahead.

De'Aaron Fox leveled the contest with a floating jump shot but two more Durant free throws were enough to seal victory.

Asked afterward how Phoenix had pulled off their win, Durant replied: "I have no clue. I usually know how the game formed, but this was just a blur. Everything happened so fast. I guess we were all in the zone and locked in."

In Tuesday's other game, Paul George finished with 38 points as the Los Angeles Clippers swept to a 128-117 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

George erupted for 28 points in the second half in Los Angeles to spark the Clippers to an impressive win. The Clippers improved to 26-14 and are fourth in the Western Conference standings.

Kawhi Leonard and James Harden added 16 points each for the Clippers, while Jalen Williams topped the Thunder scorers with 25.


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