LOS ANGELES: Joel Embiid delivered his sixth NBA career triple double on Monday to lead Philadelphia to a 138-94 rout of the Los Angeles Lakers. The Cameroonian’s 30 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists helped inflict on LeBron James the most lopsided loss of his career.
Embiid made nine-of-15 from the floor, including 2-of-3 from three-point range, and sank 10 of his 12 free throws. “You’re trying to play winning basketball,” Embiid said. “When my teammates are wide open, I want to get them easy shots, just make the game easy for myself.”
The 29-year-old, seven-foot tall (2.13m) NBA Most Valuable Player last season notched his first triple double of the campaign in three quarters on the same night the 76ers made 22 three-pointers, one shy of the club record. Tyrese Maxey scored a game-high 31 points and added eight assists for the Sixers, who shot 47-of-93 from the floor and 22-of-46 from three-point range.
“We’re playing together. We’re having fun sharing the ball,” Embiid said. “The ball is moving. We know what we’ve got to do. It starts on defense. Once you get stops, you get in transition and get easy baskets.” Four-time NBA MVP LeBron James, who led the Lakers with 18 points, suffered the heaviest defeat of his 21-year NBA career. Asked what needed to change for the Lakers, he replied: “A lot.”
‘A ton of threes’
James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the all-time NBA minutes played in regular season and playoffs combined at more than 66,300. The scoreline eclipsed a 31-point win by the Syracuse Nationals, who moved to Philadelphia, over the then-Minneapolis Lakers in November 1951 as the biggest margin between the two franchises.
Maxey went 5-of-12 from three-point range while Patrick Beverley was 4-of-8 from beyond the arc and Marcus Morris was 4-of-5 with three-point shots for the 76ers. “We want everyone to shoot a ton of threes and it paid off today,” Beverley said. “When we get on the court it’s easy. In practice we give each other hell.”
The Lakers, who had 17 points and 11 rebounds from Anthony Davis, hit their first four shots then missed 10 of their next 11, going more than four minutes without a basket, while the 76ers went on a 20-2 run. Embiid scored seven and Maxey had six in the spurt as the hosts seized a 32-19 lead after the first quarter and a 68-53 halftime edge.
Philadelphia improved to 12-5, one game behind Eastern Conference leader Boston, while the Lakers slid to 10-8. Depleted defending NBA champion Denver, sparked by guard Reggie Jackson and 35-year-old center DeAndre Jordan, rallied late to beat the host Los Angeles Clippers 113-104.
The shorthanded Nuggets were without two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic due to a back injury, forward Aaron Gordon with a sore right heel and guard Jamal Murray with a right hamstring injury. Denver began the fourth quarter with a 22-6 run to grab a 99-94 lead and held off Los Angeles down the stretch. Two former Clippers powered Denver as Jackson had 35 points and 13 assists while Jordan added 21 points and 13 rebounds.
Wizards win at last
Kawhi Leonard scored 31 points to lead the Clippers. The Nuggets improved to 12-6, moving one game behind Western Conference leader Minnesota, while the Clippers fell to 7-9. Host Utah edged New Orleans 114-112 as Keyonte George scored 19 points and Jordan Clarkson added 16 and 10 assists.
Zion Williamson scored a game-high 26 points for the Pelicans while Brandon Ingram added 25. In a matchup of the NBA’s worst teams, Washington’s Kyle Kuzma scored 32 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and added eight assists to spark the visiting Wizards over Detroit 126-107.
Washington improved to 3-14 while Detroit, led by Cade Cunningham’s 26 points, sank to a league-worst 2-15. The Pistons’ losing streak stretched to 14 games while the Wizards snapped a nine-game win drought.
Portland’s Jerami Grant scored 34 points and Bahamian center Deandre Ayton contributed 22 points and 13 rebounds to lift the Trail Blazers over host Indiana 114-110. Tyrese Haliburton led the Pacers with 33 points. – AFP