Without Embiid, 76ers push past Pacers 129-126 in OT

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — De’Anthony Melton hit a go-ahead 3-pointer late in overtime and James Harden scored 26 points to help a Philadelphia 76ers team playing without Joel Embiid beat the Indiana Pacers 129-126 on Wednesday night.

Melton put the Sixers ahead 125-124 with 2:16 left in OT. He finished with 19 points.

Montrezl Harrell followed with a rim-rattling dunk, and the Sixers held on for their 11th straight home win. Harrell also had 19 points on 8-for-9 shooting.

Embiid, who had been playing with a sore lower back, sat out with a sore left foot. Embiid hurt his foot in Monday’s win against New Orleans and was ruled out hours before tipoff against Indiana.

Embiid is day to day, with missed games about the only aspect slowing down his MVP push. Embiid won the NBA scoring title last season, and his 33.5 average this season has him just behind Dallas star Luka Doncic's league-best 34.3 average.

He was named Eastern Conference player of the month for December. Embiid led all players in scoring at 35.4 points in the month on 55% shooting from the floor and 42% from 3-point range.

Without Embiid, the Sixers needed more production off the bench — and got it, notably from backup center Harrell. Harrell made all five baskets in the first half and scored 12 points.

Buddy Hield led the Pacers with 24 points, and Bennedict Mathurin had 19.

The Pacers stormed back in the fourth, keyed by Hield’s 3 that pulled them within one and a Mathurin bucket on a goaltending call during a 10-0 run.

The Sixers pulled ahead on Melton’s fourth 3 of the game, but Hield hit a 3 and Myles Turner scored for a 120-116 lead.

Without Embiid, the Sixers gamely tied the game in regulation on Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris buckets in the final 37 seconds. Harris scored 19 points. Maxey had 17 in his return to the starting lineup after he missed about six weeks with a broken foot.

TIP-INS

Pacers: Former 76ers guard and Pittsburgh native T.J. McConnell wore a Damar Hamlin jersey to the game. “I just wanted to show support for a fellow Pittsburgh native and athlete, and let him and his family know that all of us here are thinking of him and praying for him,” McConnell said.

76ers: Harden has at least 20 points and five assists in six straight games. ... Won their third OT game of the season ... Improved to 15-1 after leading at halftime.

UP NEXT

Pacers: Host Portland on Friday.

76ers: Host Chicago on Friday.

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The Associated Press