76ers 131, Jazz 123 (OT)
Joel Embiid isn’t content with being one of the NBA’s best players. He wants more for himself and the 76ers — and it showed.
Embiid had 40 points and 19 rebounds and hit a tying 3-pointer late in regulation, Tobias Harris scored 11 of his 22 points in overtime, and Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia beat the West-leading Utah Jazz 131-123 on Wednesday night.
Ben Simmons added 17 points for the 76ers, who improved to 24-12.
The game included four players who will be participating in Sunday’s All-Star game in Embiid and Simmons, and Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert of the Jazz.
Embiid rose above the rest.
“Those are the matchups you want to dominate and prove we have a great team,” Embiid said.
The four-time All-Star is eager to add the NBA’s top defensive award to his mantel.
“I want to dominate on the offensive end but mainly on the defensive end,” he said.
Once again, he did both to help Philadelphia avenge last month’s loss to the Jazz.
The Jazz beat Philadelphia 134-123 on Feb. 15 in Utah when Embiid sat with a back injury. Simmons had 42 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists in that game, but Jordan Clarkson hit eight 3-pointers and scored 40 points for Utah.
All the stars were available for this one, and they put on a show.
Philadelphia tied it early in the fourth, and the teams went back and forth down the stretch with neither leading by more than five.
Mike Conley’s two free throws put Utah ahead 118-115 with 21.5 seconds left in regulation. The 76ers couldn’t free their shooters for a tying 3, so Embiid stepped back and drained one himself with 5.9 seconds remaining. Conley quickly drove the length of the court and had a chance to win it, but his runner from the foul line rimmed out.
“Very comfortable shot and one I’ve made a thousand times,” Conley said. “It’s just unfortunate it didn’t go in.”
Harris took over offensively for Philadelphia in the extra session, scoring the 76ers’ first eight points and giving them a 126-123 advantage on a turnaround jumper with 1:37 left.
“That’s why I’ve been preaching for him to be an All-Star,” Embiid said. “He dominated in overtime.”
Philadelphia all but clinched it on their next possession when Mitchell was whistled for a technical and Seth Curry made the free throw, and Embiid made one of two earned from the original foul to make it 128-123.
Mitchell had 33 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Jazz, who lost their second straight. Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic added 18 points apiece for Utah and Gobert had 12 points and nine rebounds.
Mitchell was ejected with 30.8 seconds left in overtime after picking up his second technical. He got his first with 57.5 seconds remaining in the extra period after arguing a foul call and didn’t hold back afterward.
“I’m never ever one to blame the refs, but this is getting out of hand,” he said. “We continually get screwed. It’s getting ridiculous that this is what’s happening. I’m sick of it, we all are. It eats at me, man. It’s really, really, really getting out of hand. The league needs to do something about this.”
Simmons and Mitchell delivered All-Star-worthy highlights on consecutive third-quarter possessions. First, Simmons stole the ball near Utah’s foul line, dribbled the length of the court and finished with a dunk after being fouled. Then, Mitchell attempted to posturize Embiid, rising high and trying to dunk over the 7-foot-2 center. Embiid denied the dunk while fouling Mitchell, whose attempt bounced around the rim and into the basket.
While most in the NBA will have a few days off this weekend, 76ers coach Doc Rivers and Utah coach Quin Snyder will be leading Team Durant and Team LeBron in Sunday’s All-Star game.
Rivers said he’ll find time to get in a few rounds of golf, and both coaches said the break will be a chance to recharge emotionally — even if they’re still coaching.
“You still get a mental break, if nothing else,” Rivers said. “I’ll take advantage of that.”
Said Snyder: “It’s an opportunity to collect yourself.”
Kings 123, Lakers 120
Buddy Hield shook off a sore ankle to score 29 points and Sacramento beat short-handed Los Angeles.
Hield’s status for the game was in doubt because of a sprained right ankle but he decided to play through it and helped the Kings win for just the second time in the past 12 games.
They took advantage of a banged-up Lakers team missing LeBron James and Anthony Davis to bounce back from Sunday’s late-game collapse against Charlotte when they missed five foul shots in the final 69 seconds to blow an eight-point lead.
Dennis Schroder scored 28 points to lead Los Angeles, Montrezl Harrell added 26 points and Kuzma 25. But it wasn’t enough for the Lakers, who lost for the sixth time in eight games to fall into a tie for third place in the Western Conference.
Trail Blazers 108, Warriors 106
Damian Lillard hit a deep 3-pointer with 13.7 seconds left and Portland held off Golden State.
Lillard and Carmelo Anthony each had 22 points for Portland.
Stephen Curry led Golden State with 35 points. The Warriors were without Kelly Oubre Jr. because of a sprained wrist. He was injured in practice Tuesday.
Pacers 114, Cavaliers 111
T.J. McConnell set an NBA record with nine steals in the first half and had his second career triple-double with 16 points, 13 assists and a franchise-best 10 steals, leading Indiana past Cavaliers.
McConnell was one off the NBA record of 11 steals set San Antonio’s Larry Kenon on Dec. 26, 1976, at Kansas City, and matched by New Jersey’s Kendall Gill on April 3, 1999, against Miami.
McConnell was 8 of 8 from the field in 36 minutes off the bench, and Malcolm Brogdon scored 27 points to help Indiana snapped a four-game skid. The Pacers overcame a 19-point deficit in the third quarter.
Collin Sexton had 32 points, 10 assists and three steals for Cleveland. The Cavaliers had won four in a row.
Mavericks 87, Thunder 78
Kristaps Porzingis had 19 points and 13 rebounds with European sidekick Luka Doncic sidelined by a back issue going into his second All-Star appearance, and Dallas beat Oklahoma City.
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 19 points, Josh Richardson added 16 and Dallas cruised most of the second half without the NBA’s sixth-leading scorer.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 15 points for Oklahoma City.
Pistons 129, Raptors 105
Wayne Ellington scored 25 points and Detroit beat virus-depleted Toronto to snap a three-game losing streak.
Ellington was 8 of 11 from 3-point range and the Pistons were 20 for 41 overall from long range. Detroit’s backup had 56 points, with Rodney McGruder and Saben Lee each finishing with 20.
Norman Powell had 36 points for Toronto, and Kyle Lowry added 21 points.
The Raptors played without Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Malachi Flynn and Patrick McCaw because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols. Coach Nick Nurse and most of his staff also were held out.
The game was originally scheduled for Tuesday night, but postponed because of the Raptors’ COVID outbreak.
Hawks 115, Magic 112
Trae Young scored 32 points and hit the go-ahead free throws with eight seconds remaining as Atlanta Hawks rallied from 19 down in the second half to beat Orlando.
Atlanta made 9 of 13 on 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and 21 of 45 in the game to complete their biggest comeback of the season.
Atlanta improved to 2-0 under interim coach Nate McMillan and won consecutive games for the first time in 5 1/2 weeks. McMillan took over Monday when Lloyd Pierce was fired.
Nikola Vucevic had 29 points and nine rebounds for Orlando.
Bulls 128, Pelicans 124
Zach LaVine capped a 36-point performance with a driving layup and four free throws during the final minute, and Chicago held off New Orleans.
Coby White scored 25 points for the Bulls. They led by many as 19 and were still up 18 in the fourth quarter before the Pelicans’ late surge pulled them as close as 117-113 on Jaxson Hayes alley-oop dunk as he was fouled with 1:49 left.
Zion Williamson led the Pelicans with 28 points.
Hornets 135, Timberwolves 102
Terry Rozier scored 31 points, Gordon Hayward added 23 and Charlotte headed into the All-Star break with an easy victory over Minnesota.
The Hornets have alternated wins and losses for the past 11 games, with the victory coming after a loss Monday night at Portland.
The Timberwolves have lost nine in a row and 13 of 14. Minnesota is 0-5 since Chris Finch replaced Ryan Saunders as coach.
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