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Joel Embiid, James Harden rally 76ers to win over Clippers

Dec 23, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (1) shields the ball from Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George (13) in the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Embiid scored 44 points, James Harden added 20 points, a career-high 21 assists and 11 rebounds and the host Philadelphia 76ers rallied from a 20-point deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers 119-114 on Friday.

Harden’s 21 assists tied a franchise record shared by Wilt Chamberlain and Maurice Cheeks and helped the Sixers sweep their seven-game homestand.

Tobias Harris added 14 points, Shake Milton and De’Anthony Melton contributed 13 apiece and Georges Niang added 11.

Kawhi Leonard led the Clippers with 28 points, Paul George added 22 and Norman Powell had 21. Marcus Morris Sr. contributed 11, Nicolas Batum had 10 and Ivica Zubac had 12 rebounds.

The Clippers bolted to a 53-36 lead when Leonard hit a short jumper with 5:38 left in the second quarter.

After Embiid missed a shot in the lane, Powell dropped in a turnaround jumper for a 19-point advantage. The lead eventually reached 20.

Embiid’s 15-foot jumper off a pick-and-roll with Harden closed the Sixers within 58-44 with 2:15 remaining.

The Clippers led 63-51 at halftime thanks in large part to 61 percent shooting as well as 17 points from George and 13 from Leonard.

Embiid kept the Sixers close with 23 on 10-of-15 shooting.

When Embiid converted a three-point play with 7:44 left in the third, the Sixers closed within 72-61.

The Sixers stayed aggressive offensively and Harris hit a difficult short bank shot to slice the deficit to 74-66. Harden then added a deep trey from the wing and the Sixers trailed by just five with 5:09 to go.

Morris Sr. responded with a 3-pointer from the corner on the Clippers’ next possession.

Niang and Melton then hit consecutive treys and Philadelphia closed within two.

The Sixers used a 12-4 run to go ahead 97-89 when Niang hit a 3-pointer with 9:44 remaining in the fourth.

Powell soon came back with a three-point play followed by Leonard’s three-point play to slice the deficit to 101-100 with 6:32 remaining.

Harden capped a 10-0 Sixers run with two free throws to put the Sixers ahead 117-108 with 1:30 to go.

Leonard hit 1-of-2 free throws with 23.1 seconds left to close the Clippers within 117-114.

–Field Level Media