Embiid's double-double keys 76ers as Spurs drop 8th straight
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Joel Embiid had 33 points and 10 rebounds and the Philadelphia 76ers beat San Antonio 137-125 on Friday night, sending the scuffling Spurs to their eighth straight loss.
Tyrese Maxey had 25 points and James Harden added 16 for Philadelphia, which has the third-best record in the Eastern Conference.
San Antonio rookie Malaki Branham set a season high for the second straight game with 26 points, eclipsing the 22-point outing he had Wednesday in a loss to Sacramento.
Keldon Johnson added 18 points and Jakob Poeltl had 16 points and 10 rebounds in San Antonio’s final home game before embarking on a nine-game road trip that ends Feb. 28.
The Spurs are 9-37 since opening the season 5-2.
Embiid, Harden and Tobias Harris returned to the court with five minutes remaining after San Antonio trimmed a 22-point lead to 122-112, and the 76ers sealed the victory.
Embiid, who was listed as questionable with a sore left foot, was 10 for 18 from the field, 2 for 3 on 3-pointers and 11 for 13 on free throws in an efficient 29 minutes. Named an All-Star reserve Thursday, Embiid added four assists and two steals.
The Spurs were without starters Devin Vassell, Jeremy Sochan and Tre Jones, as well as Romeo Langford, who has started 19 games.
Philadelphia had three straight turnovers to open the game in falling behind 8-1. The 76ers rallied to end the first quarter tied at 26 and then outscored the Spurs 47-35 in the second quarter.
The run included a one-handed alley-oop dunk by Embiid on a pass from Harden followed by a fastbreak dunk by Harris in building a 66-49 lead.
76ers: Harden exited for the locker room with a second remaining in the first half after falling on his elbow late in the first half. Harden returned early for warmups and started the second half. ... Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers was honored before the game as part of the Spurs’ 50th anniversary celebration. Rivers played his final two seasons in the NBA with the Spurs, beginning in 1994. ... Play was stopped midway through the first quarter so the 76ers could tend to a minor cut near Embiid’s right thumb that was bleeding. Embiid drained a 3-pointer on the next play.
Spurs: San Antonio’s next home game is March 2 against Houston. ... San Antonio has the league’s second-longest active losing streak, trailing New Orleans’ 10-game skid. ... San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich received a technical foul with 5 minutes remaining in the first quarter after stomping down the sideline and screaming at official Mousa Dagher. Popovich was upset no foul was called on a reverse layup attempted by Keldon Johnson.
76ers: At Los Angeles Lakers on Monday.
Spurs: At Chicago on Tuesday.
AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Raul Dominguez, The Associated Press