LOS ANGELES, United States, Jan 7 – Joel Embiid’s 38 points and 28 from Seth Curry saw the Philadelphia 76ers withstand a 60-point performance from Washington’s Bradley Beal in a 141-136 NBA win over the Wizards on Wednesday.
Tobias Harris and Shake Milton scored 19 points each and Ben Simmons added 17 points and 12 assists as the 76ers notched their fifth win in a row and pushed their league-leading record to 7-1.
The Sixers led by as many as 21 points in the third quarter, but the Wizards hung around and knotted the score at 131-131 with four minutes left to play.
From there Philadelphia scored eight straight points to pull away, the defeat more painful for the Wizards as Russell Westbrook departed in the waning minutes with a hand injury after contributing 20 points, eight rebounds and 12 assists.
The night’s 11 games played out hours after a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol building in Washington, forcing lawmakers to flee to safety and leaving one woman dead.
Around the league players and coaches addressed the violence, as well as the decision a day earlier not to bring charges against the white police officer who shot and paralyzed African American Jacob Blake in Wisconsin last August.
“We play tonight’s game with a heavy heart after yesterday’s decision in Kenosha and knowing that protesters in our nation’s capital are treated differently by political leaders depending on what side of certain issues they are on,” players from the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat said in a joint statement before their game.
“The drastic difference between the way protesters this past spring and summer were treated and the encouragement given to today’s protesters who acted illegally just shows how much more work we have to do.”
The marquee matchup in Miami was the first meeting between the teams since the Heat eliminated the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals.
The rematch saw the Celtics emerge from a close game with a 107-105 victory.
Boston used a 10-0 scoring run to build a 10-point lead with 1:17 remaining only for the Heat to respond with a 10-0 run of their own before Celtics guard Payton Pritchard made a game-winning layup with two-tenths of a second remaining.
Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 26 points. Jayson Tatum paced the Celtics with 27 and Jaylen Brown added 21.
– Fultz out for season –
In Orlando, Terrence Ross scored 20 points and Dwayne Bacon added 19 to lead the Magic to a 105-94 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
But the victory was marred by a season-ending knee injury to point guard Markelle Fultz in the first quarter.
Fultz’s knee appeared to give out as he drove to the basket and he crashed to the court in obvious pain with what the team later said was a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Charlotte’s free-agent acquisition Gordon Hayward scored a career-high 44 points to propel the Hornets to a 102-94 victory over the Hawks in Atlanta.
The Indiana Pacers, fueled by 35 points from Malcolm Brogdon, notched a 114-107 win over the Houston Rockets, whose star James Harden delivered a modest 15 points and 12 assists.
The Milwaukee Bucks, with 25 points from NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo, cruised to a 130-115 victory over the Detroit Pistons, who saw Derrick Rose depart early with a right knee contusion.
The Oklahoma City Thunder edged the Pelicans in New Orleans 111-110. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 21 points and George Hill made two free throws to seal the win with 12.1 seconds left to play.
Zion Williamson’s 29 points paced the Pelicans, who also had a triple-double of 10 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists from center Steven Adams of New Zealand, whose first career triple-double came against his former team.
With 21 points from both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Los Angeles Clippers held off the Golden State Warriors 108-101 in San Francisco.
Warriors star Stephen Curry endured a tough shooting night, scoring just 13 points after amassing 92 in his previous two games, including his career-high 62 against Portland on Sunday.