Embiid's 32 leads 76ers over Blazers for 4th straight win
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Joel Embiid scored 32 points and the Philadelphia 76ers stretched their winning streak to four games, all on the road, with a 105-95 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night.
James Harden added 16 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds for the Sixers, who led by as many as 26 points before holding off a late Portland rally.
“I think from the beginning it was easy. When you’ve got two guys with high basketball IQs, you can figure it out everything easy,” Embiid said about his chemistry with Harden. “So it’s all about just playing off of each other. We’ve been doing a wonderful job of doing that.”
Damian Lillard had 25 points and 11 assists for the Blazers and Jerami Grant scored 24 points against his former team.
Jusuf Nurkic's layup closed the gap to 92-80 with 6:17 left, but Embiid answered with a dunk and a free throw. Grant's 3-pointer narrowed it to 95-86 with 3:49 left.
Embiid picked up his fifth foul and Anfernee Simons made a pair of free throws to get within 95-88.
Tyrese Maxey's layup and De’Anthony Melton's free throws got the Sixers' lead back to double digits and Portland couldn't catch up.
It was Embiid's seventh straight game with 30 or more points.
Currently on a five-game western road trip, the 76ers have won the first four games. Philadelphia has won eight of 10 games this month, building on an eight-game winning streak in December. They're now even with the Bucks in second place in the Eastern Conference.
“I think we’re good, and I think we can be really, really good. But we have work to do,” said Sixers coach Doc Rivers.
Meanwhile, Portland has slid to 12th in the Western Conference with just three wins in 10 games since the first of the year.
“I thought our defense was good enough to win this game tonight, to be honest with you. Offensively, the offense wasn’t good enough -- couldn’t make shots and didn’t make shots. But they had a lot to do with that. Got to give them credit," Blazers coach Chauncey Billups said.
The Sixers jumped out to a 26-14 lead in the opening quarter behind Embiid, who had 10 points in his first six minutes and finished the first half with 17 points.
Philadelphia led by as many as 25 points en route to a 57-34 lead at the break as the Blazers struggled to score, going 13 of 42 (31%) from the floor. Portland hit just one of 14 3-point attempts.
Embiid's dunk put the Sixers up 75-49 midway through the third quarter. But Portland went on a 14-0 run late in the period to narrow the gap to 75-63.
Portland played without Gary Payton II because of a sore calf.
76ers: Rivers joked that the 76ers would be happy to play in Paris, just like the Bulls and the Pistons earlier Thursday. He added London and Rome to the list of locations he wouldn't object to. ... Harden has four triple doubles this season.
Trail Blazers: The game against the 76ers kicked off a six-game homestand for the Blazers. “You talk about trying to set the tone at home. You come out like that against a good team, makes it tough,” Billups said. ... Lillard was 1 of 10 from the field in the opening half. ... Portland's 32 first-half points were a season low.
CAN’T GET NO SATISFACTION
Asked before the game if he could consider the five-game road trip a success after winning the first three games, Rivers was emphatic: “No, I mean really, no. We want to win games.”
76ers: Visit Sacramento on Saturday to conclude the road trip.
Trail Blazers: Host the Lakers on Sunday.
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