Philly treys de­feat Den­ver

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Christo­pher Dempsey

Nuggets coach Michael Malone al­ways warns about these games.

The games against teams with a worse record than the Nuggets. The games against teams sup­pos­edly tired, com­ing into Den­ver on the sec­ond of a back-to-back set. The games where in­juries se­verely de­plete the op­po­nent’s ros­ter.

Those are “mine­field” games, the games a team is “sup­posed” to win. Fri­day night, it was the game the Nuggets did not win. The Philadel­phia 76ers rolled into the Pepsi Cen­ter and put on a 3-point shoot­ing show while post­ing a 124-122 vic­tory.

“I think when you win a few games, you start to feel pretty good about your­self and you for­get why you’ve been winning games,” Malone said. “We’re not a team that can just show up.”

Both teams were pro­duc­tive from the arc, but the 76ers were bor­der­line un­con­scious from the arc, nail­ing 3-point­ers left and right un­til they reached 16 on the night. Not only did they make that many, which were just short of a sea­son high for a Den­ver op­po­nent, they hit a big per­cent­age of them — .485, to be ex­act.

And with that as the foun­da­tion, the Nuggets never could quite catch and pass the 76ers, who never led by more than 10 points but were al­most al­ways lead­ing. The Nuggets tried to counter with 3point shoot­ing of their own (go­ing 11-of-27), but 33 points at the arc didn’t trump 48.

“Our de­fense was nonex­is­tent tonight,” Malone said.

The Nuggets made a game of it down the stretch, how­ever, cut­ting the 76ers’ lead to one point (114-113) on a Wil­son Chan­dler jump shot with 1:44 re­main­ing. But the 76ers an­swered with — what else? — a 3-pointer, made by T.J. McCon­nell, who had three treys as part of a big night with 17 points and eight as­sists.

But the game wound to­ward a photo fin­ish. Den­ver’s Nikola Jo­kic tied the score 117-117 on free throws with 49.4 sec­onds left in the game.

Joel Em­biid made 1-of-2 free throws with 31.5 sec­onds re­main­ing, putting the 76ers back up by one. Em­biid made it stand by strip­ping Jo­kic of the ball as he

went up for a shot on the Nuggets’ en­su­ing pos­ses­sion, then got the ball and was fouled. He made both free throws, putting Philadel­phia ahead 120-117.

The Nuggets opted to go for two right away and stretch the game out. Danilo Gal­li­nari flew in for a dunk with 10.1 sec­onds re­main­ing, and the Nuggets trailed 120-119. Robert Cov­ing­ton was fouled and made two free throws to put Philadel­phia’s lead back at three.

Then, the 76ers did some foul­ing of their own. They hacked Jo­kic be­fore the Nuggets could get up a 3-point shot. He made 1-of-2 free throws, in­ten­tion­ally miss­ing the sec­ond, but Philadel­phia got pos­ses­sion of the ball. Two more Em­biid free throws gave the 76ers a four-point lead they did not re­lin­quish.

“It’s hard to win any game do­ing that; we can’t just keep think­ing we’re outscor­ing peo­ple,” said Den­ver’s Will Bar­ton. “We’ve got to take more pride in our de­fense.”

Em­biid was the story down the stretch, mak­ing five con­sec­u­tive free throws and also mak­ing a big de­fen­sive play to keep the 76ers in front. It was the first time they won on the sec­ond of a back-to-back set this sea­son.

Jo­kic led all scor­ers with 25 points, and he grabbed seven re­bounds. Den­ver’s Em­manuel Mu­diay fin­ished with 22 points, five as­sists and four re­bounds. Seven Nuggets scored in dou­ble fig­ures.

Em­biid and Er­san Ilyasova led the 76ers with 23 points apiece.

Philadel­phia’s Joel Em­biid tries to block Den­ver’s Jusuf Nur­kic from scor­ing on this play at the Pepsi Cen­ter on Fri­day night. The 76ers im­proved to 8-24 with their 124-122 win over the Nuggets. David Zalubowski, The As­so­ci­ated Press

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.