By Michael Donovan
Jerryd Bayless scored all of his 14 points in the second half and the Sixers rallied from 13 down to beat the Denver Nuggets 107-102.
Dario Saric had 20 points and nine rebounds and keyed a second-half run, JJ Redick had 18 points and Robert Covington had 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The Sixers played without Joel Embiid, their star center, who flew directly from Portland to Phoenix, where the team will join him for tonight’s game. Embiid is averaging 24 points and 11 rebounds per game. The 76ers are 2-7 when he does not play.
“To get one, on the road, without Joe, is a credit to a team effort,” coach Brett Brown said.
Bayless (above) scored all of his points in a span of 3:56, when the Sixers took the lead for good.
“It was huge,” guard Ben Simmons said. “He played really well and that’s exactly what we need from guys like that — hit shots.”
Jamal Murray led Denver with 31 points and had eight rebounds;Nikola Jokic had 19 points, 13 rebounds and six assists; and Gary Harris had 17 points.
Denver’s offense went cold in the third quarter and didn’t recover.
“We stopped hitting shots,” Murray said. “It wasn’t their defense. Guys that normally make shots missed them today.”
The Nuggets looked like they had control with 11 straight points to start the third to go up 72-58, but Philly responded with a 25-4 run to lead 83-76. Trey Lyles gave Denver some momentum with a 37-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut the deficit to three.
Lyles finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.
Bayless sparked the Sixers with eight points in the first 1:06 of the fourth for a 91-80 lead.
Jokic got Denver within 103-100 with two free throws with 1:01 left, and after Bayless missed on the other end, the Nuggets had a chance to tie. Will Barton missed a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left, and Philadelphia called a timeout after Saric grabbed the rebound.
Covington drained two fouls shots with 19.5 seconds left to put the Sixers ahead by five and clinched it with a dunk after Murray hit two free throws.