Embiid scores 30 on bad knee, 76ers hold off winless Pistons

Oct 28, 2021, 6:41 AM | Updated: 7:28 pm
Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, right, goes up for a shot against Detroit Pistons' Isaiah Stewart ...

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, right, goes up for a shot against Detroit Pistons' Isaiah Stewart during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — His right knee aching, Joel Embiid could have easily skipped a game against winless Detroit. As the 76ers watched another 20-point lead shrink to almost nothing down the stretch, Embiid instead got to work.

Embiid shook off lingering pain in his right knee and scored 30 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and hit a step-back 3-pointer in the final minute to help the Philadelphia 76ers stave off another collapse in a 110-102 win over the Pistons on Thursday night.

“He imposed his will in several parts,” coach Doc Rivers said.

Embiid remains hampered by a right knee that hasn’t been right since he suffered a torn meniscus during last season’s playoffs. Embiid’s numbers were off a bit compared to his careers bests, yet the 7-footer has played in every game with the Sixers still without fellow All-Star Ben Simmons.

Embiid’s health was debated to the point that some fans and media believed the center should take the game off against the Pistons and give him one more day of rest before the Sixers play Saturday.

“There’s no excuses. I’m fine,” Embiid said.

With their habit of blowing large leads again haunting the Sixers, Embiid came back in the game late in the fourth when a 22-point lead was whittled to single digits. He hit a free throw to push the lead back to 10.

The 76ers watched a 14-point edge evaporate in a loss to Brooklyn in the home opener and last season’s Eastern Conference semifinal loss to Atlanta was plagued by lost leads, notably blowing a 26-point lead in a Game 5 defeat.

It almost happened again after former Villanova standout Saddiq Bey buried a 3 that pulled the Pistons to 101-94 and another that made it 103-97.

Embiid, though, sank four free throws and buried a 3 from the top of the arc in the waning moments that saved the Sixers — who had 20 turnovers — from a complete meltdown.

“You’ve just got to bury a team,” Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey said.

Embiid went through shootaround and a pregame workout feeling healthy enough to give the game a try. Embiid, who has a history of injuries, was NBA MVP runner-up last season and one strike against him was games played: He played in 51 games while Denver’s Nikola Jokic played all 72. Embiid had plenty of reasons to play — and made the Pistons pay.

“Every single year, I come in with the mindset of trying to play every single game I can,” Embiid said. “I’ve got to play more games than I have in the past. So far this year, I’m on the right path.”

Bad knee or not, he was his usual dominant self. Embiid crashed on the court several times and was even whistled for a technical foul for trash-talking Luke Garza after a rim-crushing dunk.

Embiid dumped a behind-the-back pass to Maxey for a baseline 3-pointer and a 48-43 lead. Embiid had 19 points and 12 rebounds in the first half to send the Sixers into the break with a 52-46 lead.

“I’ve never seen that before and I’m so glad I made it,” Maxey said of Embiid’s pass. “If not, oof, oof.”

Bey led the Pistons with 19 points. Detroit used a 16-1 run late to make the game interesting and fell to 0-4.

“I didn’t start off the game well and missed some early reads and easy shots,” Bey said. “The rhythm was a little off at the beginning. I want to win so bad that I’m going to find the rhythm and help the team as much as possible.”

Tobias Harris scored 17 points and Maxey had 16 for the Sixers.

TIP-INS

Pistons: Bey marked his return to the area and received a smattering of applause during pregame introductions. Coach Dwane Casey credited Villanova coach Jay Wright for turning Bey into a strong pro. “Jay Wright does a great job of preparing his guys for the NBA. Well-prepared, knows the game, coachable,” he said. “Doesn’t take coaching as criticism. That comes from being with coach Wright the whole time.”

76ers: G Shake Milton made his season debut after sitting out with a sprained right ankle. He hit a 3 in the fourth for a 90-72 lead. … Embiid made 12 of 15 free throws.

SIMMONS UPDATE

Simmons continues to work out with the Sixers and was at the morning shootaround. Simmons, who asked to be traded in the offseason, has yet to play this season.

“The back is getting better,” Rivers said. “It’s more about the mental. Yeah, that’s where it’s at.”

UP NEXT

Pistons: Host Orlando on Saturday.

76ers: Continue a four-game homestand against Atlanta on Saturday. Portland and Chicago are in town next week.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Fans reach for a foul ball by New York Yankees' Aaron Judge during the second inning in the second ...
Associated Press

Home run hands! Dallas fan catches Judge’s 62nd homer on fly

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — As he walked through a concourse in the outfield at Globe Life Field, high-fiving with fans and surrounded by a sea of cameras, it was almost as if Cory Youmans had hit a huge home run. Instead, he hit the jackpot. Youmans made the catch of a lifetime Tuesday night, snagging […]
1 day ago
Cleveland Guardians relief pitcher Emmanuel Clase celebrates a 5-3 win against the Kansas City Roya...
Associated Press

MLB playoff picture all set, best-of-3 matchups start Friday

Albert Pujols taking his final swings in October, Julio Rodríguez stepping in for the first time. Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom facing Manny Machado and Juan Soto. Bryce Harper, back at last. José Ramírez and his Cleveland teammates trying to break a long drought — with a new name. And Aaron Judge, Mookie Betts and […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Ukraine basketball players find homes at Canadian college

The squeak of their shoes and the thump of the ball on the court feels blessedly normal for Vika Kovalevska and Vlada Hozalova. Basketball provides a brief sanctuary from the ceaseless undercurrent of tension they feel about what’s happening at home in Ukraine. The game also helps ground them in their new life in southern […]
1 day ago
This photo provided by the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne shows Sophie Hernandez compet...
Associated Press

Olympic pentathlon eyes ‘Ninja Warrior’ courses for survival

The path to saving modern pentathlon from Olympic removal may just be filled with obstacles. As in, ring swings, rope mazes, balance beams and warped walls. Imagine an “American Ninja Warrior” style obstacle course set up in the middle of the Coliseum for the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Games. That sort of scene could rescue […]
1 day ago
Umpires look toward the sky after a drone was seen above the field during the third inning of a bas...
Associated Press

Rockies beat Dodgers 5-2 after Urias departs in last start

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Julio Urias made his final tune-up for the postseason and case for the Cy Young Award a solid one, though the Colorado Rockies went ahead after he left and beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-2 on Tuesday night. Urias pitched five innings and allowed two runs — both on solo homers. […]
1 day ago
Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani walks to the dugout after striking out against the Oakland Athlet...
Associated Press

Langeliers’ bases-loaded walk sends A’s past Angels, 2-1

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Shea Langeliers drew a bases-loaded walk in the 10th inning, sending the Oakland Athletics past the Los Angeles Angels 2-1 on Tuesday night. “Those are the moments you practice for right there,” Langeliers said. “All the hard work you do goes in, and it shows up when you need it right […]
1 day ago
Embiid scores 30 on bad knee, 76ers hold off winless Pistons