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Joel Embiid powers 76ers past struggling Rockets

Sportsnaut
Jan 3, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) controls the ball against Houston Rockets center Daniel Theis (27) during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 3, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) controls the ball against Houston Rockets center Daniel Theis (27) during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Embiid had 31 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists to lift the host Philadelphia 76ers past the Houston Rockets 133-113 on Monday night.

It was the third career triple-double for Embiid.

Furkan Korkmaz added 24 points and a career-high 11 rebounds for the 76ers, who won their fourth in a row. Isaiah Joe scored 18 points, Seth Curry contributed 15 and Tobias Harris had 14.

The 76ers played without Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle and head coach Doc Rivers as they were held out in the league’s health and safety protocol. For the second straight game, assistant Dan Burke served as the acting head coach.

The Rockets suspended key players Christian Wood and Kevin Porter Jr. for conduct detrimental to the team.

Garrison Mathews led the Rockets with 23 points, while Eric Gordon and Jae’Sean Tate each scored 14 and Josh Christopher had 13. Jalen Green and David Nwaba chipped in with 12 apiece and Kenyon Martin Jr. had 11.

Houston has lost eight straight games.

The game was tight throughout the first half and the Rockets went ahead 61-60 when Mathews dropped in a 3-pointer from the corner with 1:02 left.

Houston led 63-62 at halftime thanks in large part to nine offensive rebounds and Mathews’ 17 points.

Embiid kept the 76ers close with 19 points and 10 rebounds despite spending part of the second quarter in the locker room for an unspecified reason.

The 76ers pulled out to an 87-75 advantage with 5:34 remaining in the third after Georges Niang hit a 3-pointer.

Philadelphia led 103-92 at the end of the third.

Harris and Andre Drummond scored consecutive baskets to open the fourth as the 76ers extended their advantage to 15.

Gordon knocked down a trey from the wing with 7:30 left as the Rockets closed within 114-101.

The 76ers responded and regained a 122-103 lead after Embiid drove to the basket and scored with 4:01 to go. It was more than enough of a cushion for the 76ers to cruise to the win.

–Field Level Media