Joel Embiid made a fade-away jumper from the foul line with 1.1 seconds left to give the Philadelphia 76ers a 120-119 comeback victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.
Embiid scored 39 points, shaking off a double-team from Jusuf Nurkic and Damian Lillard on the winner. The basket gave Philadelphia its first lead of the game they trailed by 21 points late in the first half as Embiid – arms extended toward the sky – basked in the glow of the sellout crowds’ chants of ‘M-V-P! M-V-P!’
‘As I dribbled, I knew I had to step back,’ Embiid said. ‘But I knew that I had to get to my spot, which is in that area. That´s a perfect spot from my previous years. At the top of the key, the court is wide open because guys don´t want to give up threes.’
Portland´s last-second attempt after a timeout was tipped away on the inbound play, with Lillard´s shot coming after the horn. It marked the third time this season that the 76ers (44-22) were able to rally from 20 points down.
Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers shoots the ball to win the game against the Trail Blazers
‘Down 20, guys could have been saying the game is over and we moved on to the next one,’ Embiid said. ‘But these guys keep on fighting. But we have to stop putting ourselves in these position.’
James Harden added 19 points for Philadelphia despite struggling from the floor. Tyrese Maxey and DeAnthony Melton each had 13 to help the 76ers win their fourth straight game.
‘It was not the prettiest win, but we’ll take it,’ Harden said.
Anfernee Simons led Portland with 34 points on 8-of-12 shooting from 3-point range. Jeremi Grant had 24 points and Lillard 22.
‘We played a tough game and we played physical,’ Lillard said. ‘Defensively, we got stops. When you play against a good team, it’s going to come down to those possessions at both ends of the floor. And I thought we competed. We had a lot of good possessions.’
Simons was a game-time decision coming into the night after missing seven of Portland’s last eight games because of sprained right ankle sprain. He was 5 of 6 on 3s in the first half as Portland hit 26 of its first 38 shots from the floor to build a 21-point lead.
‘For the most part, we had a great game,’ Simons said. ‘They had a little run, but we played hard and we did everything we needed to do to win the game.’
After surrendering 71 points in the first half, Philadelphia made a defensive switch at the start of the second half with Embiid moving to a roving mode out to the perimeter and P.J. Tucker anchoring the middle as the center. In the second half, Portland shot 4 of 17 from 3-point 5range after shooting 11 for 19 in the first half.
‘The trapping was effective and trapped Lillard everywhere,’ Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers said. ‘You can’t trap Lillard and Simons when they are both on the floor, but you can trap Simons when Lillard was off. I thought that was very effective.’
76ers’ Joel Embiid reacts after the 76ers won an NBA basketball game against the Trail Blazers
NETS 124, TIMBERWOLVES 123, OT
Mikal Bridges scored 34 points and Spencer Dinwiddie blocked Mike Conley’s 3-point attempt as time expired to give Brooklyn its fourth victory in five outings.
Acquired from Phoenix last month in the deal that sent Kevin Durant to the Suns, Bridges has scored 30 or more points in four of his past five games.
Dinwiddie had 29 points and 11 assists, Cam Johnson – also part of the trade with Phoenix – recovered from taking a hit to the face to finish with 15 points and eight rebounds, and Royce O´Neale added 12 points and 15 rebounds off the bench.
Anthony Edwards led Minnesota with 32 points, but missed several key shots down the stretch. Rudy Gobert scored 26, his most since being acquired by the Timberwolves in the offseason.
Brooklyn Nets forward Mikal Bridges (1) reacts to his shot against the Minnesota Timberwolves
SPURS 128, NUGGETS 120
Keldon Johnson scored 23 points and San Antonio overcame 37 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists by Nikola Jokic to stun Denver.
Doug McDermott added 20 points and Jeremy Sochan had 19 points for San Antonio, which shot 54% in a balanced effort with their entire roster available for one of only a few times in an injury-riddled season.
It was Jokic´s 26th triple-double in what could be his third straight MVP season.
Jamal Murray added 24 points for Denver, which lost its second straight following a four-game winning streak.
Keldon Johnson #3 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots the ball against the Denver Nuggets
HEAT 119, CAVALIERS 115
Jimmy Butler scored 33 points, Tyler Herro added 25 and Miami rallied from a 14-point, second-half deficit to beat Cleveland.
Bam Adebayo scored 19 points and Max Strus had 14 for the Heat, who split a two-game home set with the Cavaliers.
Donovan Mitchell led all scorers with 42 points for Cleveland, which got 16 apiece from Isaac Okoro and Caris LeVert. Evan Mobley added 12 for the Cavaliers.
Cleveland (42-27) fell 3-1/2 games behind Philadelphia in the race for the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference. Miami (36-32) remains No. 7 in the East.
Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat shoots a free throw against the Cleveland Cavaliers
HAWKS 114, WIZARDS 107
Trae Young scored 28 points, including a key 3-pointer with 1:17 remaining that helped Atlanta hold off Washington.
The Hawks won in Washington for the second time in three days in what could be a preview of a play-in round matchup in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta is in eighth place, and the Wizards are a half-game up on Chicago for 10th.
The Wizards trailed by just three when Bradley Beal came up empty trying for a quick 2-pointer. Dejounte Murray made two free throws for Atlanta with 12.7 seconds left, and the Hawks closed out the game from there.
Beal led Washington with 27 points and Kristaps Porzingis added 22.
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) shoots between Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal
LAKERS 122, RAPTORS 110
The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Toronto Raptors 122-110 thanks to a stand out performance from D’Angelo Russell who scored 28 points and was one assist away from recording a double-double.
Dennis Schroder had a strong performance off the bench after contributing 23 points, seven assist, and four steals.
Scottie Barnes and O.G Anunoby did all they could for the Raptors after scoring 32 and 31 points respectively
Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell (1) passes the ball during the game against the Toronto Raptors
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