Joel Embiid had 29 points and 14 rebounds, James Harden added 19 points and 12 assists and the host Philadelphia 76ers held off the Cleveland Cavaliers 118-112 in the final game for both teams before the All-Star break on Wednesday, February 15 (Thursday, February 16, Manila time).
When Embiid converted a three-point play with 7:34 remaining in the first quarter, he eclipsed 10,000 points in his career. He became the fastest player in franchise history to reach the milestone, getting there in 373 games, five fewer than Allen Iverson.
De’Anthony Melton contributed 17 points, Tyrese Maxey scored 16, and Tobias Harris had 13 for the Sixers, who had a 28-point lead just before halftime whittled to four in the final minute of the game. PJ Tucker added 10 points. Philadelphia won its fourth game in a row.
After the Cavaliers closed within 116-112 with 21.1 seconds left on a dunk by Evan Mobley, Melton knocked down two clutch free throws to seal the win for the Sixers.
Donovan Mitchell led the Cavaliers with 33 points and Darius Garland added 27. Mobley had 23 points and 9 rebounds, but the Cavaliers had their seven-game winning streak snapped. Jarrett Allen chipped in 12 points and seven boards.
With Cleveland trailing 112-103, Mitchell banked in a three-pointer and Allen grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to get within 112-108 with 1:30 to go.
It looked like a blowout late in the second quarter when Harden dropped in a three-pointer with 49 seconds remaining to cap an 11-0 run for a commanding 63-35 lead.
Danny Green, who just signed with the Cavaliers earlier Wednesday, hit a trey with 4.7 seconds left, but the deficit was 63-38 at halftime.
The Sixers made their first six three-pointers and finished 8-of-15 by halftime.
Garland paced the Cavaliers with 13 in the half, but they went 4-of-17 from long range.
Allen threw down consecutive dunks and Mobley added a dunk to try to spark the Cavaliers, yet they still found themselves down 18, 77-59, with 4:44 left in the third quarter.
The Sixers stagnated offensively and Mitchell hit a driving layup to cap a 13-0 Cleveland spurt to trim the deficit to 14.
Melton responded with a triple from the corner and the Sixers went ahead 80-63 with 2:22 left.
The Sixers led 87-70 at the end of the third thanks to Maxey’s trey with 1.7 seconds to go. – Rappler.com
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