By Tommy Matthews

Joel Embiid scored 44 points, James Harden had a career-high 21 assists in a triple-double and the Sixers overcame a 20-point first-half deficit to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 119-114.

Harden also had 20 points and 11 rebounds to help the Sixers sweep a seven-game homestand and improve to 19-12. Harden tied Wilt Chamberlain and Maurice Cheeks for the franchise game assist record.

Kawhi Leonard had 28 points on 12-of-19 shooting for Los Angeles. Paul George added 22 points and Norman Powell had 21. The 76ers limited George to five points in the second half, led by a standout performance from De’Anthony Melton.

And the Sixers defense came up big.

The Clippers shot just 40%, including making 4 of 19 three-pointers in the second half.

Paul George shot 1-for-6 and point guard Reggie Jackson had two points on 1-for-4 shooting. Reserve Luke Kennard, the league leading in three-point percentage (.489), went 0-for-2 from the field — both three-point attempts.

The Sixers defense is second in the league behind the Cleveland Cavaliers in defensive rating at 108.3.

“I feel like it’s been overlooked,” Embiid said of the defense.

“But it’s fine. We’ve been doing our job. Everybody on the team has been following what they need to do. … Everybody buying in, everybody being on the same page, just being physical.

“But being second is not bad.”

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