Em­biid says 76ers should be think­ing playoffs

Har­den scores 40 as Rock­ets top Rap­tors

Albuquerque Journal - - SPORTS -

NEW YORK — Joel Em­biid is no longer just trust­ing the process. Now he’s talk­ing about the playoffs.

Em­biid scored 20 points and the Philadel­phia 76ers earned their 10th vic­tory to match their to­tal from all last sea­son, beat­ing the Brook­lyn Nets 105-95 on Sunday.

The 76ers broke it open with a 17-2 surge in the fourth quar­ter to win the matchup be­tween the NBA’s two worst teams and im­prove to 10-25 in their first sea­son with for­mer lot­tery picks Em­biid and Dario Saric. They were 10-72 in 2015-16, just off their own record for worst fin­ish in the 82-game sched­ule.

Em­biid has looked at the stand­ings and seen the 76ers are eight games back of eighth place in the Eastern Con­fer­ence, and be­lieves that should be a goal.

“I think we have a chance. We’ve been hot lately,” he said. “We’ve won three out of four lately, so I look at it and I think we have a chance and we’re re­ally fig­ur­ing things out. We’re start­ing to learn how to win games.”

Em­biid did his dam­age with­out even reach­ing the 28-minute re­stric­tion he was lim­ited to as he re­cov­ers from a se­ries of foot in­juries that de­layed his NBA de­but for two years. He left the court to chants of “Trust the Process!” in a nod to what he and oth­ers re­minded fans while the Six­ers lost big dur­ing Sam Hinkie’s re­build­ing plan.

Even as the vic­to­ries come, coach Brett Brown said the build­ing process re­mains most im­por­tant.

“We are win­ning bas­ket­ball games more fre­quently than we have been, but for us it’s still, how are we do­ing what we do?” Brown said. “Are we do­ing our job? Are we not skip­ping steps? Are we putting in good days? And we be­lieve as sim­ple as that might sound that they will add up.”

CAVS 120, SUNS 116: In Phoenix, LeBron James scored 12 of his 28 points in the fourth quar­ter for Cleve­land, which led by as many as 22 in the first half and 20 early in the third quar­ter.

The Suns tied it late in the third and got within one in the fourth but never took the lead. Eric Bled­soe scored 31 points for the Suns.

WAR­RIORS 117, KINGS 106: In Sacra­mento, Calif., Stephen Curry made five 3-point­ers and scored 30 points for Golden State which took its first lead mid­way through the third quar­ter on the way to the win. With their 17th straight vic­tory after a loss, the War­riors reached 124 straight reg­u­lar-sea­son games with­out suf­fer­ing back-to-back de­feats.

Sacra­mento’s Rudy Gay scored 15 of his 23 points in the first quar­ter.

CLIP­PERS 98, HEAT 86: In Los An­ge­les, J.J. Redick scored 25 points and the Clip­pers beat Mi­ami for their fourth straight vic­tory. Go­ran Dragic scored 24 points, and Has­san White­side had 15 points and 13 re­bounds for Mi­ami.

ROCK­ETS 129, RAP­TORS 122: In Toronto, James Har­den had 40 points, 11 as­sists and 10 re­bounds for his 10th triple-dou­ble of the sea­son, and Hous­ton beat the Rap­tors for its eighth straight vic­tory.

De­Mar DeRozan had 36 points for the Rap­tors, set­ting a ca­reer high with his 18th 30-plus-point game of the sea­son.

WIZARDS 107, BUCKS 101: In Mil­wau­kee, Bradley Beal scored 26 points and Marki­eff Mor­ris added 20 points with 10 re­bounds, lead­ing the Wizards. Jabari Parker led Mil­wau­kee with 28 points. Mal­colm Brog­don fin­ished with a ca­reer-high 22 points.

GRIZ­ZLIES 88, JAZZ 79: In Mem­phis, Tenn., Mike Con­ley had 19 points and nine as­sists, and Marc Ga­sol scored 17 points to help lead the Griz­zlies over Utah. Zach Ran­dolph fin­ished with 13 points and 11 re­bounds as Mem­phis won its sec­ond straight.

Gor­don Hayward led the Jazz with 22 points.

LAK­ERS 111, MAGIC 95: In Los An­ge­les, Julius Ran­dle scored 19 points and rookie Bran­don In­gram matched his ca­reer high with 17 in the first time in their last 30 games that the Lak­ers put to­gether con­sec­u­tive vic­to­ries. Serge Ibaka, Evan Founier and Nikola Vuce­vic each scored 19 points to lead Or­lando. The Magic dropped their third straight.

PIS­TONS 125, TRAIL BLAZ­ERS 124 (2OT): In Port­land, Ore., Ken­tavi­ous Cald­well-Pope hit a 3-pointer with 9.4 sec­onds left in the sec­ond ex­tra pe­riod, and the Pis­tons made it hold up in a game post­poned a day be­cause of a winter storm. Reg­gie Jack­son led Detroit with 31 points. C.J. McCol­lum poured in 35 points and Allen Crabbe added a ca­reer-high 30 for Port­land.


Philadel­phia’s Joel Em­biid (21) dunks against the Nets dur­ing Sunday’s game. The 76ers won 105-95 to im­prove to 10-25 this sea­son, a year after go­ing 10-72.

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