Embiid scores 41 as Sixers outduel Jokic, Nuggets

Agence France-Presse
Embiid scores 41 as Sixers outduel Jokic, Nuggets
Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers and Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets speak following a game at the Wells Fargo Center on January 16, 2024 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images / AFP

LOS ANGELES – Joel Embiid conjured a second straight 40-point performance to outduel Nikola Jokic as the Philadelphia 76ers downed the NBA-champion Denver Nuggets, 126-121, on Tuesday (Wednesday Manila time).

A heavyweight showdown pitting reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Embiid against Denver's two-time MVP Jokic did not disappoint as the two teams went toe-to-toe from the outset.

Embiid, who scored 41 points on his return from injury in the Sixers' win over Houston on Monday, was once again in superb form, finishing with 41 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists.

The 29-year-old was imperious down the stretch, scoring 11 points in the fourth quarter as the Sixers transformed a six-point deficit into victory.

"I'm just letting the game come to me, but the credit goes to my teammates — they put me in the best position to succeed and they trust me, that's the key," Embiid said after a game watched by a sellout 19,775 crowd at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center.

"I would not be doing what I'm doing without the trust they have in me," Embiid added.

Embiid embraced Jokic following the final buzzer, with the two men sharing a friendly exchange after a hard-fought game.

"I just told him he's the best player in the league," Embiid said.

"He won a championship, and that's the best team in the league and he's a finals MVP. I just told him to keep going."

The game had been finely poised at 111-111 with just over seven minutes remaining.

Embiid reentered the fray just after Jokic checked back in from the bench, and it was the Cameroon-born power forward who ultimately seized control of the contest.

A sublime running reverse layup from Embiid put the Sixers 115-113 ahead, before a jump shot increased the Philadelphia cushion to four points with 5min 30sec remaining.

A free throw and a 27-foot 3-pointer left the Sixers 121-113 ahead, and Embiid then added a jump shot to extend Philadelphia's advantage to 10 points at 123-113 to effectively seal victory.

Embiid received scoring support from Tyrese Maxey with 25 points — including four 3-pointers — while Tobias Harris pitched in with 24 points. Kelly Oubre Jr. added 11 points.

Jokic led the Denver scoring with 25 points, 19 rebounds and three assists.

Michael Porter Jr. finished with 20 points and Jamal Murray added 17.

Philadelphia improved to 26-13 to remain in third place in the Eastern Conference standings, trailing first placed Boston (31-9) with Milwaukee second in the table on 28-12.

Denver remain third in the Western Conference on 28-14, behind Minnesota (28-11) and Oklahoma City (27-12).

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