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Joel Embiid’s birthday bonanza powers 76ers past Cavs

Sportsnaut
Mar 16, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) shoots beside Cleveland Cavaliers forward Lauri Markkanen (24) in the second quarter at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Embiid, playing on his 28th birthday, logged 35 points, 17 rebounds and five assists to propel the visiting Philadelphia 76ers to a hard-fought, 118-114 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.

Tyrese Maxey added 25 points for the Sixers, who have alternated wins and losses over their past seven games. James Harden had 21 points and 11 assists, and Tobias Harris contributed 19 points and six rebounds before fouling out.

All-Star Darius Garland paced the Cavaliers with 22 points and seven assists, while backcourt mate Isaac Okoro added 17 points and five rebounds.

Brandon Goodwin and Kevin Love sank 3-pointers to cap a 12-0 run at the end of the third quarter and hand Cleveland a 90-85 lead. However, the Sixers outlasted the Cavs in a back-and-forth fourth quarter.

Embiid had 20 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in the first half as the Sixers stormed out to a 72-59 advantage.

The matchup of Embiid and Cavs center Evan Mobley never really materialized. Mobley finished with 13 points and nine rebounds. Philadelphia outscored Cleveland 24-6 from behind the 3-point arc in the first two quarters.

The Sixers, 3-0 on the season against the Cavs, led by as many as 17 points in the second quarter. Harden and Harris sank 3-pointers in the last 30 seconds of the half, on either side of an Okoro trey, to leave Philadelphia with a 12-point edge at the break.

Garland had 13 points and Okoro 12 in the first half for the Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers, down 26-10 in the first quarter, ended the period on a 13-4 run to get back in the game at 30-23.

With 3 1/2 minutes left in the opening quarter, Embiid had outscored the Cavs 13-10. Embiid was a game-time decision after taking a hard fall in the Denver game Monday, but he wasn’t slowed.

He improved on his league-leading scoring average, 29.9 points per game.

The Sixers improved to 7-2 with Harden in the lineup since he was acquired from the Brooklyn Nets last month.

–Field Level Media