PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Joel Embiid had 39 points and 13 rebounds, and the Philadelphia 76ers beat Brooklyn 123-117 onin an anticipated matchup that fizzled with the Nets missing their biggest stars. In a without James Harden, Kevin, the Sixers (38-17) moved into first place in the Eastern Conference.
Durant, Blake Griffin, and LaMarcus Aldridge. With the Nets standouts hurt or just rested, the game had more of a preseason feel than a possible preview of the conference final this summer. No matter; the Sixers atop the standings and have the No. 1 seed insight with just 17 games left this . “It would be nice to have,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers said. “It makes sense to as possible.”
With good reason — the Sixers improved to 21-5 at home.
“I think they’re comfortable at home,” Rivers said. “Young teams typically are comfortable at home. I guess the surprise thisis (the record) without the fans. I certainly can understand with the fans.”
The Sixers had 4,094 fans spread around the arena to watch Embiid have another stellar outing against the understaffed Nets. He scored 21 points by halftime, his 14th 20-point 1st half this(most in NBA).
Kyrie23 points in the first half — his eighth 20-point first half of the season — and finished with 37 points. Irving .
Irving sat out as the deep reserves helped the Nets rally from 16 points down to make it 118-115 with 1:15 left. Embiid sealed the win from the free-throw line to the tune of “M-V-P!” chants..
Yes, the Nets might still be the betting favorite to– FanDuel Sportsbook had their Wednesday night as 11-5 favorites – but pushing for the No. 1 seed isn’t worth the tradeoff of having a healthy roster for the postseason.
“It’d be great to have the No. 1 seed. I think it means a lot; it’s valuable,”Nash said. “But not at the expense of losing situation. So I think we have to be very careful and ensure that our guys get to the finish line as a whole as possible.”
Nash brushed off suggestions theto keep the Sixers guessing that they might look close to a complete unit in the playoffs.
“I think when you start to try to be cute, it backfires most of the time,” he said. “It wasn’t strategic. It was, this is what this is the availability we have.”
Tobias Harris made all six shots in the second quarter and scored 13 of his 26 points to help the Sixers open up the game. Ben Simmons closed the third on a fastbreak dunk for a 94-84 lead that got a rise out of the small and enthusiastic crowd. Simmons had 17 points.
Nets: Also played without Tyler Johnson, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Chris Chiozza. Chiozza had surgery Wednesday on his right hand after he was injured against the Timberwolves.
76ers: C Dwight Howard sat out withsoreness. … DJ Jazzy Jeff rang the ceremonial bell.
Rivers continued to speak out against police brutality and said there needed to be reform in police unions following the death of 20-year-oldin Minnesota. “I think that’s where our energy should go because we have to take out this situation where you feel like you will get away with murder because you’re protected,” Rivers said. “When you take that away, there would be change.”
Nets: Host Charlotte on Friday.
76ers: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.
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