DON’T LOOK NOW — SIXERS JUMP TO JUST 6 1/2 GAMES OUT!

By Wendy Burke

Joel Embiid had 53 points and 11 rebounds, leading the Sixers to a 131-113 win over the Hornets.

The win left the Sixers at 14-12, 6 1/2 games out of first in the Eastern conference.

Embiid became the first player in the NBA this season to post two 50-plus point performances, adding Sunday’s performance to a league-best 59-point effort on Nov. 13 against Utah.

“The ball just found me,” Embiid said. “I thought we moved the ball well all night and the ball just found me.”

Embiid became the third player in Sixers history to have multiple 50-point games in the same season, joining Allen Iverson (2000-01 and 2004-05) and Wilt Chamberlain (1965-66 and 1967-68). It is also the 30th game in Embiid’s career with 40 points and 10 rebounds. The only other player in franchise history to accomplish that feat was Chamberlain.

James Harden had 19 points, 16 assists, and nine rebounds to help Embiid’s effort.

“He was in attack mode for the entire game,” Harden said. “He made scoring look easy tonight. He was aggressive getting to the basket and his jumper was falling.”

Tobias Harris scored 17 points and De’Anthony Melton added 12 for Philly, which shot 55.4%.

 

“We didn’t run, but we played with pace and got open shots,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers said.

 

Charlotte was led by Kelly Oubre Jr. and Terry Rozier, who each scored 29 points. The Hornets have lost five straight games.

 

“We had good intent tonight,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “The first six or seven minutes of the game, we had good defense. Our transition defense was a problem tonight and we have to fix that. Besides Joel, that was the story of the first half. But we did a lot of good things.”

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