By Tommy Matthews

Joel Embiid’s fadeaway jumper with 1.1 seconds lifted the Sixers to a 120-119 comeback victory over the Portland Trail Blazers that kept them 1 1/2-games behind Boston, which is second place in the East.

Embiid scored 39 points, and his game-winner gave Philly its first lead of the game — they trailed by 21 points late in the first half as Embiid — arms extended toward the sky — basked in the glow of the sellout crowds’ chants of “M-V-P! M-V-P!”

“As I dribbled, I knew I had to step back,” Embiid said.

“But I knew that I had to get to my spot, which is in that area. That’s a perfect spot from my previous years. At the top of the key, the court is wide open because guys don’t want to give up threes.”

Portland’s last-second attempt after a timeout was tipped away on the inbound play, with Lillard’s shot coming after the horn. It marked the third time this season that the 76ers (44-22) were able to rally from 20 points down.

“Down 20, guys could have been saying the game is over and we moved on to the next one,” Embiid said.

“But these guys keep on fighting. But we have to stop putting ourselves in these position.”

James Harden added 19 points for Philadelphia despite struggling from the floor. Tyrese Maxey and DeAnthony Melton each had 13 to help the 76ers win their fourth straight game.

“It was not the prettiest win, but we’ll take it,” Harden said.


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