Embiid's 25 points, 19 boards lift 76ers past Thunder 100-87
By DAN GELSTON
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Joel Embiid had 25 points, 19 rebounds and five blocked shots, and the Philadelphia 76ers won as they wait on James Harden, 100-87 over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.
The 76ers gave a tease of Harden's impending arrival with a flipbook-style video of his career that ended with a shot of The Beard superimposed in a No. 1 jersey. Sixers fans gave the clip a roaring standing ovation.
They can't wait for Harden to start a highlight reel in Philly.
Harden, who has a hamstring injury, is expected to travel to the area this weekend and get evaluated by the team's medical staff. He won't play Saturday against Cleveland. The means the earliest Harden could play for the 76ers is at home Tuesday against Boston. The Sixers also play Thursday at NBA champion Milwaukee before the All-Star break.
Sixers fans rushed the team stores when doors opened to get the jump on Harden jerseys. Yup, some die-hards wore a Harden jersey before the three-time NBA scoring champ could in Philly.
Harden was acquired from the Brooklyn Nets at Thursday's trade deadline for 2016 No. 1 pick and three-time All-Star Ben Simmons. Simmons never played a game this season following an offseason trade demand. The Sixers got the second superstar they craved to pair with Embiid as they chase their first NBA championship since 1983.
Embiid had 11 points and 10 rebounds in the first quarter. The Sixers, who also sent Seth Curry and Andre Drummond to the Nets, never really pulled away in the second half from the 17-win Thunder.
The Sixers are in a holding pattern until Harden makes his debut. Furkan Korkmaz started in Curry's spot and the Sixers suddenly don't have a backup center to Embiid. Coach Doc Rivers said the Sixers would scan the buyout market.
Tyrese Maxey scored 24 points and Tobias Harris 17 for the Sixers.
Derrick Favors led the Thunder with 16 points and Lu Dort had 15.
The Sixers ran rotations more fit for a preseason game and, with the Thunder struggling, this one will quickly be forgotten. The Thunder missed all eight 3s in the third quarter. Embiid shot only 8 of 25 from the floor.
So it goes. The Harden countdown goes on.
Thunder: Waived F KZ Okpala, acquired this week from Miami.
76ers: Embiid had a double-double in one quarter for the second time in his career. ... G Shake Milton returned from a back injury and played for the first time since Jan. 3.
Tre Mann arched back and was about to throw down a monster dunk - until the Thunder guard was stuffed by the front of the rim. The Sixers replayed the botch on the big screen multiple times and fans laughed.
It got worse.
Paul Reed, fighting for backup center minutes with Drummond gone, had an uncontested look for an easy bucket on the fast break. Reed's attempt at a f lashy reverse backfired. He missed the shot and fell to the court. The Sixers cackled at Reed's misstep -- while Rivers folded his arms and stewed over the lost two points.
DON'T TOUCH THE DIAL
"It's good TV." - OKC coach Mark Daigneault on the Harden-Simmons trade.
Thunder: Play Saturday at Chicago.
76ers: Host Cleveland on Saturday night.
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Updated February 12, 2022