NBA: Joel Embiid plays big, Zion Williamson injured as Sixers down Pelicans
Joel Embiid had 42 points and 11 rebounds to lift the host Philadelphia 76ers past the New Orleans Pelicans 120-111 on Monday.
James Harden added 27 points and eight assists, Georges Niang scored 15 points and Tyrese Maxey had 12 points in his second game back from a fractured left foot. De’Anthony Melton chipped in with 11 points for the Sixers, who have won two straight.
Zion Williamson led the Pelicans with 26 points, seven assists and six rebounds but left the game early in the second half with a strained right hamstring and was deemed out midway through the fourth.
CJ McCollum added 26 points and Jonas Valanciunas contributed 12 points and 12 rebounds. Naji Marshall and Jaxson Hayes also scored 10 points each for the Pelicans, who have lost two in a row.
Embiid dropped in a 3-pointer with 5:03 left in the second quarter and the Sixers went ahead 49-35.
Joel Embiid in the Sixers win:
5 AST pic.twitter.com/ke0C0L6WF5
— NBA (@NBA) January 3, 2023
Williamson drove to the basket and scored to close within 52-41 with 3:11 remaining.
The Sixers led 57-52 at halftime thanks in large part to 18 points from Embiid and 16 from Harden.
The Pelicans used a late 15-5 run to slice that early deficit, as Williamson scored 12 of his 16 points in the second quarter.
The Sixers pulled ahead by 10 early in the third as Embiid’s short jumper gave them a 66-56 advantage with 8:18 left.
New Orleans quickly responded and closed within 68-66 following three consecutive baskets by Williamson.
After the Pelicans tied the game at 70, Embiid converted a three-point play with 3:39 to go in the third. Devonte’ Graham hit a pair of free throws with 9:38 left in the fourth and the Pelicans equalized at 89.
Maxey knocked down a trey from the corner on the next possession for the Sixers. Niang’s fifth 3-pointer soon gave the Sixers a 99-93 advantage.
Herbert Jones was whistled for a foul and McCollum got pegged with a technical with 6:54 remaining.
Even after Williamson went out, McCollum kept the Pelicans in it with a trey to cut the deficit to 106-99 with 3:52 remaining. Embiid scored quickly on Philadelphia’s next possession.
McCollum hit a deep 3-pointer with 2:10 left to pull within 110-107.