Embiid scores 41 on return in Sixers romp

Agence France-Presse
Embiid scores 41 on return in Sixers romp
Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers is guarded by Dillon Brooks of the Houston Rockets during the first quarter at the Wells Fargo Center on January 15, 2024 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images / AFP

LOS ANGELES – Joel Embiid scored 41 points in a dazzling return from injury on Monday (Tuesday Manila time) as the Philadelphia 76ers romped past the Houston Rockets, 124-115.

Kicking off a packed slate of NBA fixtures as the US marked the Martin Luther King Jr. public holiday, the Sixers were always in control as they cruised to victory.

Embiid missed the Sixers' past three games after twisting his left knee in a January 5 defeat to the New York Knicks.

But the NBA's reigning Most Valuable Player showed no sign of rustiness as he posted his seventh 40-point game of the season, adding 10 rebounds and three assists.

Embiid shot 12-of-21 from the field, and was near-perfect from the foul line, making 16 of 17 free throws in a comfortable win for the Sixers, who improved to 25-13 to remain in third place in the Eastern Conference.

Embiid's performance also extended a remarkable scoring streak.

The 29-year-old has now gone 16 consecutive games with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds, tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the second-longest streak of its kind in NBA history. Only Wilt Chamberlain is ahead of Embiid and Abdul-Jabbar.

Embiid received scoring support in Monday's rout from Tyrese Maxey with 27 points while Patrick Beverley added 11 from the bench and Tobias Harris 10.

Jalen Green led Houston's scoring with 20 points while Alperen Sengun finished with 19.

In other games on Monday, Kyrie Irving scored 42 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. 41 as the Dallas Mavericks staged a fourth quarter rally to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans 125-120.

Irving and Hardaway scored 20 points between them in the fourth quarter as the Mavericks fought back from a double-digit deficit late in the third to snatch victory.

Only one other Dallas player — Josh Green, with 13 points — cracked double figures.

Dallas coach Jason Kidd meanwhile singled out Hardaway for praise after the 31-year-old slipped seamlessly into the starting line-up due to Luka Doncic's absence through injury.

"He's the substitute teacher in the starting line-up and he's being a pro about it," Kidd said after the win.

"He's just a pro. This afternoon was a perfect example of that — he took his shots and was aggressive, and we need that no matter if he's starting or coming off the bench."

Zion Williamson led the Pels scoring with 30 points while C.J. McCollum added 23.

In Atlanta, Trae Young's 36 points helped the Hawks hold off the San Antonio Spurs for a 109-99 victory.

San Antonio's No.1 draft pick Victor Wembanyama produced another eye-catching performance in defeat for the Spurs, finishing with 26 points — 18 of them in the fourth quarter.

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