1215 GMT February 24, 2020
Embiid scored 22 points, including two key free throws with 15.3 seconds left, and Tobias Harris added 20 to keep Philadelphia 76ers perfect at home with a 97-92 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night, The Associated Press reported.
Matisse Thybulle added 13 points for the Sixers, who are 13-0 in Philadelphia. They have won three straight and seven of eight.
Embiid added 10 rebounds but once again struggled offensively down the stretch. After being benched late in Philadelphia’s 110-104 win over Toronto on Sunday for committing three straight turnovers, he missed a three-pointer, a jumper and committed a turnover in crunch time before making the two big foul shots.
Fortunately for the 76ers, their defense clamped down on Denver down the stretch.
“I need to be myself,” Embiid said. “When I’m having fun, I dominate.”
Embiid said he has cut back on the extra-curricular activity while trying to be more mature since his two-game suspension for fighting Karl-Anthony Towns on October 30, which was followed by a postgame barrage of insults on social media.
Embiid, however, let loose after his improbable shot ended the third quarter with Philadelphia ahead 83-76, and the crowd loved it.
“I need to do it more,” he said.
A two-time All-Star, Embiid entered averaging 21.9 points and 12.5 rebounds per game after putting up 27.5 points and 13.6 boards last season.
Will Barton had 26 points to lead the Nuggets, who have lost three in a row and five of six. Leading scorer Jamal Murray was injured with 6:49 left in the first quarter when he collided with Ben Simmons and didn’t return.
The Nuggets set a franchise record for largest fourth-quarter comeback when they rebounded from 19 points down to start the final period in a 100-97 win over Philadelphia in Denver on November 8. They tried again, but couldn’t come all the way back this time.
The 76ers led by 10 early in the fourth after Josh Richardson’s deep three-pointer from the top of the key made it 88-78 with 8:54 remaining. The Nuggets scored the next eight, capped by Barton’s three-point play with seven minutes left, to pull to 88-86.
But then Thybulle hit a pivotal three and grabbed a big offensive rebound on Philadelphia’s next possession, which ended with Al Horford’s jumper that put the 76ers in front 93-86 with 4:36 to play.
“You could feel the building light up,” Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said of Thybulle’s impact. “He’s an energy giver when he can make those plays.”
Nuggets coach Michael Malone liked his team’s resolve but said the lack of offensive execution is a recurring problem.
“Our offense has been holding us back and tonight was another example,” he said.
“We have to find ways to be more consistent.”