NBA

Embiid reaches 50-point mark for second time this season in 76ers win, Zion powers Pels into west lead

By Sports Desk December 11, 2022

Joel Embiid posted another 50-point performance to lead the Philadelphia 76ers past the Charlotte Hornets 131-113 on Sunday.

Embiid scored 53 points with 11 rebounds for the Sixers, backing up his league season-best 59 points against the Utah Jazz on November 13.

The Sixers center joined Allen Iverson (2000-01 and 2004-05) and Wilt Chamberlain (1965-66 and 1967-68) to become the third player in franchise history to record multiple 50-point games in the same season.

Embiid also joined Chamberlin as the only Sixers in franchise history with at least 30 games of 40 points and 10 rebounds.

The big man's haul was built around 20-of-32 shooting along with making 11-of-11 free throws as the Sixers improved to 14-12.

James Harden made a solid contribution with 16 assists along with 19 points, including three-of-eight three-point shooting.

Pelicans soar into Western Conference lead

Zion Williamson scored 35 points to power the New Orleans Pelicans to a 129-124 overtime victory over the Phoenix Suns, who were missing Devin Booker again.

Williamson starred on 14-of-21 shooting with eight rebounds for the Pels, who beat the Suns twice in three days to surge into the Western Conference lead with a 18-8 record, fueled by seven straight wins.

Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton both fouled out for Phoenix, who were without Booker due to left hamstring tightness.

Griffin snatches remarkable OT Hawks win

A.J. Griffin sunk an overtime buzzer-beater to clinch the Atlanta Hawks a thrilling 123-122 win over the Chicago Bulls, after DeMar DeRozan hit three free throws with 0.5 seconds left to take the lead.

The Hawks snatched the win when Jalen Johnson's inbound alley-oop pass found Griffin, who hit a six-foot turnaround jumper. Trae Young had 19 points and 14 assists for Atlanta.

DeRozan scored a game-high 34 points for the Bulls, including 12 in the fourth quarter and three overtime free throws after being fouled by Bogdan Bogdanovic with less than a second left on a three-point attempt.

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  • Joel Embiid 'ready to go' for play-ins – Nurse Joel Embiid 'ready to go' for play-ins – Nurse

    Joel Embiid will be "ready to go" for the Philadelphia 76ers when they host the Miami Heat, coach Nick Nurse has confirmed.

    The reigning MVP sat out the Sixers' 107-86 victory over the Brooklyn Nets in Sunday's regular-season finale at Wells Fargo Center.

    Embiid returned from a two-month lay-off against the Oklahoma City Thunder two weeks ago, but his status has been questionable for every game since. 

    And after missing the Nets game, concerns were raised with regards to his status ahead of Wednesday's 7-8 play-in contest with the Heat.

    However, Nurse allayed any fears regarding the fitness of Embiid, who practised with the rest of his team-mates on Saturday.

    "He did everything at practice yesterday," Nurse said after the Nets win. "But we decided out of caution to hold him out. He'll be ready to go."

    Despite winning their final eight games, the Sixers finished seventh in the Eastern Conference and are set to contest their first play-in contest.

    As a result of other results over the weekend, the Heat now stand between Philadelphia and a place in the playoffs.

    "Obviously, we've had some great battles with them, and we always expect that facing them," Nurse said.

    "The mindset is we're playing well and do everything we can, like we've been doing for the last month.

    "We're digging in and playing our guys and doing whatever we have to do to win. We've got a good mindset, and we'll take that into Wednesday."

  • Allen reportedly agrees to 4-year, $70million extension with Suns Allen reportedly agrees to 4-year, $70million extension with Suns

    When Grayson Allen takes the court for the Phoenix Suns in their first play-off game this weekend, he'll be playing with a new contract.

    Allen and the Suns agreed to a four-year, $70million extension on Monday, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

    The six-year veteran is coming off his best NBA season, averaging career highs of 13.5 points per game, 3.9 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 0.92 steals while starting 74 of 75 contests.

    He also shot a league-leading 46.1 per cent from 3-point range and averaged a career-best 2.7 made 3-pointers per game.

    He had seven games this season with at least eight made 3-pointers, and only the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry had more such games with eight.

     

    The 21st overall pick of the 2018 NBA draft by the Utah Jazz, Allen joined the Suns last off-season as part of the three-team trade that saw Damian Lillard go to the Milwaukee Bucks.

    Prior to being acquired by Phoenix, Allen spent one season with the Jazz, two with the Memphis Grizzlies and two in Milwaukee.

    He averaged 9.7 points per game in his first five seasons before becoming an important part of Phoenix's offence in 2023-24.

    In the 30 games Allen scored at least 14 points, the Suns went 22-8, compared to going 27-25 when he scored 13 or fewer.

    Phoenix won 10 of its last 14 games to end the season 49-33, and finish in sixth place in the Western Conference.

    The Suns will face the third-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves in a first-round play-off series, beginning on Saturday.

  • 'No doubt' Davis will face the Pelicans 'No doubt' Davis will face the Pelicans

    The Los Angeles Lakers will have Anthony Davis to call on when they face the New Orleans Pelicans in their upcoming play-in game.

    After finishing eighth in the Western Conference, the Lakers will go up against the No.7 seed Pelicans on Tuesday.

    While the loser will drop into a game against either the Sacramento Kings or the Golden State Warriors, the winner will go up against the Denver Nuggets in the first round.

    The Lakers defeated the Pelicans 124-108 in their final regular-season game on Sunday, with an instant rematch now on the cards.

    And Davis, who had to be treated for back spasms after the game, insisted he will be fit to feature.

    "No doubt that I'm going to play," said Davis, who finished with 30 points and 11 rebounds.

    LeBron James is heading into the playoffs in fine form.

    He registered his fifth triple-double of the season, finishing with 28 points, a season-high 17 assists and 11 rebounds.

    "I just read the game and I was just finding my teammates and I just tried to put the ball on time and on target for either jump shots or guys at the rim," James said.

    "I just tried to be very efficient with my play."

    James marked Zion Williamson on Sunday, with the 23-year-old limited to 12 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

    However, James was full of praise for his opponent, adding: "He's a beast.

    "I mean, it's almost impossible to stop him so I just tried to keep a body on him and just tried to keep it tough on him. He's a great player, man."

    Looking towards Tuesday's matchup, James said: "Tuesday's game is going to be extremely hard, extremely difficult, extremely physical.

    "I've always known that, when you play a playoff series, and I look at this like a two-game playoff series, if you win that first game, a team has multiple days to kind of sit on that feeling, or sit with that taste in their mouth of defeat.

    "So they're going to be extremely ready for us and we have to come in with the same sense of urgency that we had the previous game."

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