Embiid’s double-double helps 76ers hold off Spurs, 115-109

Jan 23, 2022, 4:27 AM | Updated: 7:45 pm
Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid (21) tangles with San Antonio Spurs' Jakob Poeltl, left, Keldon Joh...

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid (21) tangles with San Antonio Spurs' Jakob Poeltl, left, Keldon Johnson, right, and Dejounte Murray during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

(AP Photo/Darren Abate)

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Joel Embiid had 38 points and 12 rebounds and the Philadelphia 76ers held off a late rally to beat the San Antonio Spurs 115-109 on Sunday night.

It was Embiid’s 14th straight game with at least 25 points.

“What he’s doing is special,” Philadelphia forward Tobias Harris said. “We rely on him night in and night out. He’s the anchor for our team. The anchor for our offensive flow out there. I thought tonight he just did a great job of picking the game apart. Really getting everyone involved out there in their spots and still being able to get the shots that he wanted.”

Harris added 18 points and 11 rebounds and Furkan Korkmaz had 17 points for the 76ers. Philadelphia has won seven straight over San Antonio.

Jakob Poeltl had 25 points and 10 rebounds and Dejounte Murray added 19 points and 12 assists for the Spurs.

After trailing by as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter, the Spurs closed to 111-109 on Murray’s steal and breakaway layup with 33.2 seconds remaining as part of an 8-4 run. Embiid would seal the victory with a pair of free throws with 14.9 seconds left.

“They had their chances at the end,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “But you make it very difficult when you spot someone a quarter, and we did it again. Same thing the last time we played them.”

Coming off a 40-point performance Friday in a one-point loss against the Los Angeles Clippers, Embiid shot 16 for 32 from the field in 32 minutes.

“He’s tough to guard,” Poeltl said. “We tried to make it as hard as possible with our team defense on him.”

Philadelphia won its fourth in six games despite missing some key players.

In addition to continuing to be without All-Star forward Ben Simmons, the 76ers had four players out with injuries including Seth Curry and Danny Green.

Philadelphia held San Antonio to 31 percent shooting in building a 41-29 lead.

The Spurs rallied, closing the game shooting 48% from the field but were only 10 for 30 on 3-pointers.

“We still had too many defensive mistakes in the fourth quarter,” Harris said. “We’ve got to clean that up. We’ve got to be able to really make a stand and hold our ground there.”

TIP-INS

76ers: Embiid had 31 points in Philadelphia’s 119-100 victory over San Antonio on Jan. 8. … Curry missed his second straight game with a sore left ankle. … Green has sat out six consecutive games with a right hip injury. … Matisse Thybulle has missed five straight since suffering a sprained right shoulder. … Shake Milton did not play due to a bruised back. …The 76ers are 17-9 on the road.

Spurs: San Antonio assistants Becky Hammon, Mitch Johnson and Darius Songaila remain out in the league’s health and safety protocols. … Poeltl collected his 16th double-double, surpassing last season’s total of 15. … The Spurs recalled F Zach Collins from his G League assignment, but he remains out while reconditioning after last playing in an NBA game on Aug. 15, 2020. Collins’ last played against Memphis while with Portland before exiting seven minutes into his start due to left ankle inflammation. Collins had surgery Dec. 30, 2020, to repair a stress fracture in his left foot and needed a second surgery June 29, 2021, after refracturing the foot. … Murray had 48 points, 24 assists and 22 rebounds in his previous two games, earning triple-doubles in both. The Spurs at 9-14 at home.

EN FUEGO

Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers has fond memories of his two seasons playing for the Spurs beginning in 1995, but he joked about some rather unkind moments.

Rivers came off the bench for the first time in his career while with San Antonio. He actually enjoyed doing so, except when he was asked to be a defensive stopper.

“I loved it until Vinny Del Negro got the guy on fire and then they would tell me to go stop him,” Rivers said. “We used to call him Vinny Kerosene some nights because I would go in and go, ‘The guy’s on fire. I’ve got to guard him?’ We would laugh about it.”

UP NEXT

76ers: Host New Orleans on Tuesday.

Spurs: At Houston on Tuesday.

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Embiid’s double-double helps 76ers hold off Spurs, 115-109