Joel Embiid goes big as Philadelphia 76ers defeat Utah Jazz in overtime thriller

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Joel Embiid scored 40 points as his Philadelphia 76ers shut down the Utah Jazz 131-123 in an overtime battle between the top two teams in each NBA conference.

Victory means the 76ers will head to the All-Star break top of the Eastern Conference for the first time since the 2000-01 season.

Embiid, who also had 19 rebounds, hit a three-pointer with seven seconds left that forced the game into an extra period.

Donovan Mitchell scored 33 points for the Western Conference-leading Jazz – the third time in four games the 24-year old has put up at least 30.

The Brooklyn Nets are nipping at Philadelphia’s heels in the East after winning 10 of their last 11 games, the latest of which came thanks to James Harden’s triple-double against his former team the Houston Rockets.

Harden scored 29 points, claimed 10 rebounds and produced 14 assists on his return to Houston as the Nets recorded a comfortable 132-114 victory.

The Detroit Pistons ended a three-game losing streak with a 129-105 triumph against the Toronto Raptors, who were without three of their four top scorers due to the league’s coronavirus pandemic protocols.

Damian Lillard and Carmelo Anthony each had 22 points as the Portland Trail Blazers secured a 108-106 victory against the Golden State Warriors, despite 35 points from Stephen Curry.

And the Sacramento Kings stunned the Los Angeles Lakers 123-120, despite Dennis Schroder contributing 28 points and Montrezl Harrell another 26 for the Lakers in the absence of star duo LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

The Charlotte Hornets pulled apart the luckless Minnesota Timberwolves 135-102, though PJ Washington suffered an ankle strain in the second half and left the court.

The Indiana Pacers’ TJ McConnell impressed in his 36 minutes off the bench as he posted his second career triple-double in a 114-111 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

A late flurry of three-pointers ensured the Atlanta Hawks defeated the Orlando Magic 115-112, the Chicago Bulls won 128-124 against the New Orleans Pelicans and Kristaps Porzingis had 19 points and 13 rebounds as his Dallas Mavericks beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 87-78.

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