The Washington Post
Embiid caps comeback with a fadeaway winner
76ERS 120, TRAIL BLAZERS 119
Joel Embiid made a fadeaway jumper from the foul line with 1.1 seconds left to give the host Philadelphia 76ers a 120-119 comeback victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.
Embiid scored 39 points, shaking off a double team from Jusuf Nurkic and Damian Lillard on the winner. The basket gave Philadelphia its first lead of a game it trailed by 21 points late in the first half as Embiid — arms extended toward the sky — basked in the glow of the sellout crowds’ chants of “M-V-P! M-V-P!”
“As I dribbled, I knew I had to step back,” Embiid said. “But I knew that I had to get to my spot, which is in that area. That’s a perfect spot from my previous years. At the top of the key, the court is wide open because guys don’t want to give up threes.”
Portland’s last-second chance after a timeout was tipped away on the inbound play, with Lillard’s shot coming after the horn.
“Down 20, guys could have been saying the game is over,” Embiid said. “But these guys keep on fighting.”
James Harden added 19 points for Philadelphia despite struggling from the field. Tyrese Maxey and Deanthony Melton each had 13 to help the 76ers win their fourth straight game.
Anfernee Simons led Portland with 34 points on 8-for-12 shooting from three-point range. Jeremi Grant had 24 points and Lillard 22.
Simons was a game-time decision coming into the night after missing seven of Portland’s previous eight games because of sprained right ankle sprain. He was 5 for 6 on threes in the first half as Portland hit 26 of its first 38 shots from the field to build a 21-point lead.
• SPURS 120, NUGGETS 120: Keldon Johnson scored 23 points, and host San Antonio overcame 37 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists by Nikola Jokic to stun Denver.
Doug Mcdermott added 20 points and Jeremy Sochan had 19 points for San Antonio, which shot 54 percent in a balanced effort with its entire roster available for one of only a few times in an injury-riddled season.
It was Jokic’s 26th triple-double in what could be his third straight MVP season.
Jamal Murray added 24 points for Denver, which lost its second straight following a four-game winning streak. The Nuggets maintained the Western Conference’s best record at 46-21 but fell 2 1/2 games behind the Milwaukee Bucks for the NBA’S best record.
Denver hoped to rebound from an uncharacteristically sloppy outing in a 117-96 loss at home to Chicago on Wednesday but instead had one of the season’s most deflating losses.
San Antonio entered having lost two straight and 18 of 20.
• HEAT 119, CAVALIERS 115: Jimmy Butler scored 33 points, Tyler Herro added 25, and host Miami rallied from a 14-point, second-half deficit to beat Cleveland.
Bam Adebayo scored 19 points and Max Strus had 14 for the Heat, which split a two-game home set with the Cavaliers.
Donovan Mitchell led all scorers with 42 points for Cleveland, which got 16 apiece from Isaac Okoro and Caris Levert. Evan Mobley added 12 for the Cavaliers. Cleveland fell 3 1/2 games behind Philadelphia in the race for the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference. Miami remains No. 7 in the East.
• NETS 124, TIMBERWOLVES 123 (OT): In Minneapolis, Mikal Bridges scored 34 points and Spencer Dinwiddie blocked Mike Conley’s three-point attempt as time expired to give Brooklyn its fourth victory in five outings.
Acquired from Phoenix last month in the deal that sent Kevin Durant to the Suns, Bridges has scored 30 or more points in four of his past five games.
Dinwiddie had 29 points and 11 assists, Cam Johnson — also part of the trade with Phoenix — recovered from taking a hit to the face to finish with 15 points and eight rebounds, and Royce O’neale added 12 points and 15 rebounds off the bench.
Anthony Edwards led Minnesota with 32 points but missed several key shots down the stretch. Rudy Gobert scored 26.