NBA big men Embiid, Jokic dominate in wins
As NBA trade rumours continue to circulate around the inactive Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid has tied his career high of 50 points in the Philadelphia 76ers' 123-110 home win over the Orlando Magic.
While a six-player swap deal including Simmons and fellow Australian Matisse Thybulle was reportedly rejected by the Sixers, Embiid showed why he is among the leading league MVP contenders once again
Hours later, Nikola Jokic showed why he beat out Embiid to be the reigning league MVP with a 49-point triple-double in the Denver Nuggets' 130-128 overtime defeat of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Jokic had 14 rebounds and chalked up his 10th assists with 1.9 seconds left to play in overtime, when he fed Aaron Gordon for a tie-breaking three-pointer.
Yet the drama was not over as Nuggets reserve Devon Reed was called for a technical foul for coming onto the court after the Gordon basket .
After Luke Kennard hit the free throw, Reggie Jackson's long three-pointer bounced off the glass and rim at the buzzer.
In Philadelphia, Embiid needed just 27 minutes to pile on the points, on 17 of 23 field goals and 15 of 17 free throws, and pull in 12 rebounds -- sitting out almost all of the final quarter.
"I'm trying to play at the best level possible I can, and that's being the best player in the world," Embiid said.
The Sixers were booed off the court at halftime, trailing 57-47, but a dominant third period in which they outscored the Magic by 24 points turned the game on its head.
Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets survived a late Washington Wizards charge 119-118.
The hosts had two chances to snatch the win but Kyle Kuzma and Spencer Dinwiddie both missed three-pointers in the final seconds -- after the Wizards had trailed by as many as 16 points.
Kyrie Irving (30 points) and LaMarcus Aldridge (27 points) both had season highs for Brooklyn while their Boomers ace Patty Mills sank five 3-pointers in his 17 points.
The Indiana Pacers increased the pressure on Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel with a 111-104 road victory.
LeBron James had 30 points and 12 rebounds but could not prevent the Lakers losing for the fourth time in their past five games to sit eighth in the western conference.
In an all western conference showdown, the Houston Rockets added to the recent struggles of the Utah Jazz with a 116-111 road win.
Boomers veteran Joe Ingles had 10 points in his best outing since returning to the Utah line-up last week after testing positive for COVID-19 but could not prevent the Jazz losing their third straight home game to be 1-6 in their past seven overall.
The Chicago Bulls ended a four-game slide by snapping the five-game winning streak of the Cleveland Cavaliers 117-104 to retain top spot in the east.
The Miami Heat are second, having defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 104-92 in a game between two short-handed teams.
Behind third-placed Brooklyn are the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks, who overcame the depleted Memphis Grizzlies 126-114 with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Ja Morant both dropping 33 points for their teams.
A LaMelo Ball triple-double of 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists led the Charlotte Hornets to a 111-102 victory over the Boston Celtics.
Other winners on a busy night of NBA action were the Dallas Mavericks, courtesy of 41 points from Luka Doncic, Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons and the San Antonio Spurs.
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