Embiid nails game-winner to complete 76ers comeback, Spurs upset Nuggets despite Jokic triple-double
Joel Embiid did his MVP chances no harm on Friday as he carried the Philadelphia 76ers to their fourth win in a row with a 120-119 home win against the Portland Trail Blazers.
It was looking like Portland's night early on as they built a 71-50 lead approaching half-time, led primarily by the hot-shooting Anfernee Simons on his way to a team-high 34 points on 13-of-22 from the field.
But from that point on they were outscored 70-48 in a true game of two halves, although the 76ers still found themselves down 11 going into the final period.
The driving force behind the comeback was Embiid, who re-entered the game with 6:33 remaining and his team down 110-98. He scored nine of his game-high 39 points in the final six minutes – matching Portland's scoring efforts as a team down the stretch.
He finished 13-of-20 from the field and 13-of-18 from the free throw line, adding seven rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals in a dominant two-way masterclass.
James Harden chipped in a near triple-double in support, scoring 19 points (six-of-14 shooting) with nine rebounds and eight assists.
With the win, Philadelphia improved their record to 44-22, just 1.5 games behind the Boston Celtics (46-21) in the race for the second seed in the East as the Milwaukee Bucks (48-18) pull away in front.
Portland fell to 31-36, leaving them 13th in the West and 1.5 games outside of the play-in tournament placings.
Jokic's triple-double winning streak comes to an end
The Denver Nuggets had been unbeaten in the 25 games this season Nikola Jokic had tallied a triple-double, until the San Antonio Spurs upset them 128-120.
The loss was not the fault of the reigning back-to-back MVP, as he scored a game-high 37 points (14-of-24 shooting) to go with 11 rebounds and 11 assists, but he lost his top offensive wing in the third quarter when Michael Porter Jr was ejected.
San Antonio had six players reach double figures, led by Keldon Johnson's 23 points (eight-of-17 shooting), eight rebounds, six assists and two steals, while Tre Jones was a game-high plus/minus of plus 21 off the bench after contributing 14 points (five-of-seven), eight assists and three steals.
Denver remain six games clear atop the Western Conference.
Nets survive in overtime
The playoff-bound Brooklyn Nets have won four of their past five after emerging victorious 124-123 following an overtime scare on the road against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Brooklyn made it to the fourth quarter with a nine-point lead, but scored only 17 points in the period to allow Minnesota back into the game, and Naz Reid completed the comeback with a clutch game-tying three-pointer to beat the buzzer.
But led by Mikal Bridge's 34 points (13-of-24) and Spencer Dinwiddie's 29 (11-of-24) with 11 assists, the Nets narrowly prevailed in the extra five minutes, with Dorian Finney-Smith's go-ahead three-pointer proving the difference.