Embiid hits a jumper to give the 76ers a win over the Blazers

PHILADELPHIA — Joel Embiid hit a layup from the foul line with 1.1 seconds left to give the Philadelphia 76ers a 120-119 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.

Embiid scored 39 points, beating the double team of Jusuf Nurkic and Damian Lillard. The basket gave Philadelphia its first lead of the game, trailing by 21 points late in the first half, as Embiid — arms outstretched — basked in the glow of the crowd chanting “MVP! MVP!”

“As I dribbled, I knew I had to step back,” Embiid said. “But I knew I had to get to my place, which is in that area. This is a perfect place from my past years. At the top of the key, the court is wide open because guys don’t want to give up threes.”

Portland’s last-second timeout attempt was tipped for an inbounds play when Lillard hit a shot at the buzzer. It was the third time this season that the 76ers (44-22) were able to rally from 20 points down.

“Down 20, guys could tell the game was over and we were on to the next one,” Embiid said. “But these guys keep fighting. But we have to stop putting ourselves in that position.”

James Harden scored 19 points for “Philadelphia” despite having to work hard from the floor. Tyrese Maxey and DeAnthony Melton each had 13 to help the 76ers win their fourth straight game.

“It wasn’t the prettiest win, but we’ll take it,” Harden said.

Anfernee Simons led Portland with 34 points on 8-of-12 3-point shooting. Jeremy Grant has 24 points, Lillard has 22.

“We played a tough game and we played physical,” Lillard said. “Defensively, we got stops. When you’re playing against a good team, it’s going to come down to those possessions at both ends of the floor. And I thought we competed. We had a lot of good things.”

Simmons’ decision came during the night’s game after he missed seven of Portland’s last eight games with a sprained right ankle. He was 5-for-6 in the first half, when Portland made 26 of its first 38 shots from the floor to build a 21-point lead.

“For the most part, we played a great game,” Simons said. “They had a little bit of a run, but we played hard and did what we needed to do to win the game.”

After giving up 71 points in the first half, Philadelphia switched defenses early in the second half, with Embiid switching to roaming perimeter mode and PJ Tucker anchoring the middle as the center. Portland went 4-of-17 from 5-point range in the second half after going 11-for-19 in the first half.

“The trap was effective and got Lillard everywhere,” Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers said. “You can’t catch Lillard and Simons when they’re both on the floor, but you can catch Simons when Lillard’s not there. I thought it was very effective.”


Trail Blazers: Mathis Tiboul, who was traded from Philadelphia to Portland in a three-team trade at the Feb. 9 trade deadline, is back at the Wells Fargo Center. He scored five points in 19 minutes.

76ers: The game marked the sixth time in the last eight games that Philadelphia shot over 40% from beyond the three-point arc. The Sixers entered the game with the sixth-best 3-point field goal percentage at 35.1%.


Trail Blazers: At New Orleans on Sunday night to wrap up a six-game road trip.

76ers: Host Washington on Sunday night.

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/APSports

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