NBA regular season

Joel Embiid, 76ers extend hot streak at Rockets’ expense

Joel Embiid, 76ers extend hot streak at Rockets’ expense

30 POINTS. Joel Embiid finishes with 31 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.

Thomas Shea/USA TODAY Sports/REUTERS

The Sixers are on a seven-game winning streak after defeating the Houston Rockets

Joel Embiid recorded 30-plus points for a seventh consecutive game as the Philadelphia 76ers extended their winning streak to seven with a 111-91 road victory over the Houston Rockets on Monday, January 10.

Embiid finished with 31 points, eight rebounds and six assists despite sitting out the fourth quarter with the 76ers holding a safe lead. He made all 13 of his free-throw attempts and ably navigated the Rockets’ double teams by relying on tertiary options as Tobias Harris and Danny Green shot a combined 2-for-9 on three-pointers.

Isaiah Joe, Furkan Korkmaz and Matisse Thybulle helped fill the shooting void by combining for 32 points while shooting 6-for-15 from behind the arc. Andre Drummond (13 points and 10 rebounds) added a double-double off the Philadelphia bench. Behind Embiid and Drummond, the 76ers outscored the Rockets 56-28 in the paint.

Christian Wood and Jalen Green scored 14 points apiece for the Rockets, who have lost 11 of 12. Houston committed 21 turnovers, missed 29 of 42 3-point attempts and trailed by as many as 27.

Embiid devastated the Rockets early, scoring 17 first-quarter points against a number of overmatched defenders. He did most of his damage at the free-throw line, with Houston opting to repeatedly foul Embiid as opposed to the alternative of letting him rampage from numerous spots on the floor. That strategy was flawed, as Embiid finished the period 9 of 9 from the charity stripe.

Despite their struggles with Embiid, the Rockets were within nine points entering the second quarter and sliced that margin to 39-34 when Garrison Mathews sank a free throw after he and Josh Christopher buried 3-pointers early in the period.

Philadelphia mustered a response, reeling off a 19-4 run that featured five baskets at the rim: layups from Drummond, Joe, Harris and Korkmaz plus an Embiid dunk that pushed the 76ers to a 58-38 lead.

Undaunted, the Rockets sliced that deficit in half before Green made a second-chance basket for the 76ers late in the half. Houston might have stood a better chance of maintaining close contact were it not for nine first-half turnovers that Philadelphia parlayed into 14 points. –

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