WASHINGTON (AP) — Joel Embiid scored 23 points but sustained an apparent leg injury and left midway through the third quarter in the Philadelphia 76ers’ 127-101 victory over the Washington Wizards on Friday night.
Embiid, an MVP contender for the Eastern Conference-leading 76erss, was in his first game back following a week-long absence for contract tracing. He entered Friday averaging 30.2 points and 11.6 rebounds.
He had also had seven rebounds before his departure with 6:20 left in the third.
Following a dunk for his last points, Embiid landed awkwardly on his left leg, his knee joint appearing to bend slightly forward. He laid on the floor for several minutes, and a stretcher was briefly brought onto the court, but the center eventually limped off under his own power.
Even with Embiid’s exit and Ben Simmons also out for contact tracing after both players were exposed to the same barber who tested positive for COVID-19, the 76ers cruised to a second straight comfortable win following the All-Star break.
Shake Milton scored 18 points off the bench Philadelphia. Furkan Korkmaz added 12 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter as the Sixers completed a three-game season sweep of the Wizards.
Russell Westbrook scored 25 points, and Bradley Beal added 19 for the Wizards.
LAKERS 105, PACERS 100
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kyle Kuzma scored 15 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, LeBron James added 18 points and 10 assists, and Los Angeles rallied late for a victory over Indiana.
Montrezl Harrell had 17 points and Kuzma added 13 rebounds as the defending NBA champions returned from the All-Star break with just their fourth win in 11 games.
Los Angeles trailed by 12 points early in the fourth quarter before Kuzma led a ferocious rally to keep the Pacers winless against the Lakers at Staples Center since November 2015.
Malcolm Brogdon scored 23 of his 29 points in the first half for the Pacers, who opened a three-game road trip with their 11th loss in 16 games. Domantas Sabonis added 20 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists, but Indiana wilted down the stretch.
JAZZ 114, ROCKETS 99
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Donovan Mitchell had 28 points, eight assists and seven rebounds and Utah opened the second half of the season by handing Houston its 15th straight loss.
Mike Conley added 20 points and Rudy Gobert had 14 points and 13 rebounds to help the Jazz get back on track after dropping their final two games of the first half.
Kevin Porter Jr. scored 27 points for Houston. He was 1 of 9 from 3-point range and 11 of 25 overall. Sterling Brown and Kenyon Martin Jr. each had 15 points.
The Rockets’ slump is their longest since losing 15 straight in 2001.
NUGGETS 103, GRIZZLIES 102
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Nikola Jokic had 28 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists and scored Denver’s final five points to help the Nuggets hold off Memphis.
Memphis had a chance to take the lead with about three seconds remaining when guard Ja Morant went to the rim against Jokic but came up short against the Denver center. The Nuggets then ran out the clock for their fifth straight victory.
Will Barton and Michael Porter Jr. had 21 points each for Denver. Jamal Murray was held to a season-low three points, missing 13 of 14 shots.
Brandon Clarke and Dillon Brooks led Memphis with 20 points each. Morant had 16 points — on 5-of-16 shooting — and nine assists, and Jonas Valanciunas added 14 points and 11 rebounds.
HEAT 101, BULLS 90
CHICAGO (AP) — Jimmy Butler scored 28 points against his former team, Goran Dragic added 20 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter and Miami beat Chicago for its ninth win in 10 games.
Butler, who played his first six seasons in Chicago, added eight assists.
The Heat improved to 20-18 after moving above .500 for the first time this season by beating Orlando on Thursday.
Zach LaVine led Chicago with 30 points.
PELICANS 116, CAVALIERS 82
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Brandon Ingram scored 28 points, Zion Williamson added 23 and New Orleans routed Cleveland.
Ingram played just 25 minutes and Williamson 18 because of how lopsided the game became. Steven Adams had 10 points and 17 rebounds in his 21 minutes on the court.
The Cavs welcomed forwards Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. back to the starting lineup after extended absences, and both announced their returns with early 3s. But their roles were relatively limited and did not significantly influence the result of a match-up with a Pelicans squad that looked inspired and determined to bounce back from an embarrassing 30-point loss to Minnesota a night earlier.
Love, who had missed 33 games since injuring his right calf in late December, played 10 minutes and had four points and a rebound. Nance, who missed 12 games after injuring his left hand, had 11 points, four rebounds and a block in 28 minutes. Collin Sexton had 19 points.
SPURS 104, MAGIC 77
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Rudy Gay had 19 points, Dejounte Murray and Derrick White each added 17 and San Antonio to beat short-handed Orlando.
The Spurs opened the AT&T Center to the public for the first time since beating Dallas on March 10, 2020, the day before the league shutdown operations due to COVID-19. Seating was limited to 3,200.
San Antonio held an opponent under 80 points for the first time since beating Golden State 89-75 on March 19, 2018.
Nikola Vucevic had 26 points and nine rebounds for the Magic in their seventh straight loss. They had seven players out with injury or illness.