Embiid has triple-double in 76ers’ road victory over Thunder

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) shoots between Oklahoma City Thunder center Mike Muscala, left, and guard Luguentz Dort, right, in the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) shoots between Oklahoma City Thunder center Mike Muscala, left, and guard Luguentz Dort, right, in the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Joel EmbIid had 16 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for his fifth career triple-double and the Philadelphia 76ers never trailed in beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 115-96 on Saturday night.

Tobias Harris hit his first seven shots and scored 23 points for Philadelphia. Harris scored 16 points in 16 minutes in the first half to help the 76ers take a 69-43 lead.

“I realized I didn’t miss a shot in the first half and then I came out in the second half and missed my first shot so that was done with,” Harris said. “In the second half, we were a little slow and sluggish, but in the fourth quarter, I thought we had more energy and life to get stops and close out the game the way that we wanted. When you’re up like that and have that type of cushion you can get a little relaxed.”

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With James Harden sitting out because of injury management on his right foot, Tulsa product Shake Milton got the start for Philadelphia and scored 18 points. DeAnthony Melton added 17 points. Their production, along with Harris’ hot start impressed Sixers coach Doc Rivers.

“It was big for us. It set the tone. Especially the way we played last night, getting the cushion helped us,” Rivers said. “We had lost two in a row. Our team doesn’t like that. We knew we were missing guys so I think our guys had the proper amount of fear going into this game. That’s a good thing.”

Josh Giddey led Oklahoma City with 20 points and nine rebounds. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 14 points on 4-of-15 shooting.

Tip-ins

76ers: P.J. Tucker and Tyrese Maxey also sat out for Philadelphia. Tucker is dealing with a left knee issue. Maxey rested on the second night of a back-to-back after returning from a fractured right foot.

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Thunder: Lost to the 76ers for the sixth straight time dating to January 2019. … With forward Alexsej Pokusevski sidelined by injury, the Thunder started rookies Jaylin Williams and Jalen Williams together for the second game in a row.

Up next

76ers: Host New Orleans on Monday night.

Thunder: Host Boston on Tuesday night.

Saturdays just got more interesting.

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