Embiid scores 39; Harden-less 76ers beat Wolves 117-94

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Joel Embiid scored 39 points, Tyrese Maxey added 27 and the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 117-94 on Tuesday night, despite playing without star James Harden.

Harden, the team’s second-leading scorer and NBA assist leader, was held out with left foot soreness. Embiid made up for Harden’s absence, scoring 22 points in the third quarter as Philadelphia pulled away and wrapped up its five-game road trip with a 4-1 mark.

De’Anthony Melton scored 11 for the 76ers, who recovered from a slow start on the second night of a back-to-back.

Anthony Edwards scored 32 points for Minnesota, which returned home following a 3-1 West Coast trip. The Timberwolves shot a season-low 39.5% from the field and were 11 of 36 from 3-point distance.

Philadelphia’s defense had allowed at least 126 points in three previous games, and gave up 143 in a win against Indiana a night earlier.

But the 76ers, who entered the game eighth in the league in defensive rating, harassed Edwards and Minnesota, which came back for wins against the Los Angeles Clippers, Lakers and Sacramento Kings to end the road trip and boost its playoff chances.

The Wolves started the day sixth in the Western Conference.

Philadelphia opened the day four games behind Milwaukee and two behind Boston in the Eastern Conference.

Embiid and lock-down defense was a good formula Tuesday, even without Harden.

The 76ers ended the first half on a 27-9 run for a 58-45 lead, and pushed the advantage to as many as 28 points in the second half.


76ers: Tobias Harris (left calf contusion) and P.J. Tucker (back spasms) returned to the starting lineup after missing Monday’s game. Harris had 10 points and a team-high 14 rebounds. … Embiid was 4 for 4 from 3-point distance and 13 of 22 overall before sitting out the fourth.

Timberwolves: Jaylen Nowell missed his fifth straight game with left knee tendinopathy. … Mike Conley, the team’s key pickup at the trade deadline, was 1 of 6 from the field and had six points and three assists in 24 minutes. ... Edwards scored 15 points in the first quarter.


76ers: Host Portland on Friday.

Timberwolves: Host Brooklyn on Friday.


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Brian Hall, The Associated Press