Embiid scores career-high 59, leads 76ers past Jazz 105-98

By DAN GELSTON Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Joel Embiid scored a career-high 59 points and added 11 rebounds, eight assists and seven blocked shots in a historically dominant performance, lifting the Philadelphia 76ers to a 105-98 victory over the Utah Jazz on Sunday night.

Embiid has clearly found his form over the past week after recovering from illness. The defending NBA champion dropped 42 points the night before in a win over Atlanta.

Embiid scored 26 of Philadelphia’s 27 points in the fourth quarter and he became the first player in NBA history with 50 points, 10 boards, five rebounds, five assists and five blocks in a game since blocks began. became an official statistic in 1973-74.

“I’ve never seen a more dominant performance when you combine defense and offense,” coach Doc Rivers said.

Malik Beasley scored 18 points for the Jazz.

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With the Sixers up 101-98 and 1:19 to go, Embiid blocked Collin Sexton’s layup, then the All-Center went down and hit a low jumper that sealed the win.

Embiid shrugged off nagging injuries to post his decisive game of the season on the second night in a row at home. He made 19 of 28 shots from the floor, 20 of 24 free throws and kept the Sixers from folding against the upstart Jazz.

Tyrese Maxey had 18 points for the Sixers, but they had just 10 points on their other three starters. Embiid scored 13 points in the first quarter, 11 in the second and nine more in the third.

Embiid sank two free throws with 4:56 left in the fourth for a 96-94 lead and tied his career high with 50 points. Embiid had scored 50 points twice before. The 7-footer hit two more free throws at 4:17 for a 98-96 lead.

He had Sixers fans chanting “MVP! MVP! and one of them shouting “He’s going to be 60!”

The Jazz gave him every chance with a string of fouls down the stretch and the big man kept knocking them off the line. He only missed his fourth free throw attempt late in the game, which made it 101-98.

Utah: Went 4-3 on a six-of-seven road streak. … Missed 8 of 13 free throws in the first half.

76ers: Embiid scored 24 points in the first half, the 30th time since the start of last season he has scored more than 20 points in one half. … Matisse Thybulle had five interceptions.

Rivers was in the midst of an 18-game losing streak as coach of the Boston Celtics during the 2006-07 season and wondered if a coaching change might be on the horizon. Instead, team president Danny Ainge has repeatedly apologized for his role in building the roster. Rivers said Ainge would tell him, be patient, hang in there. Patience paid off, Ainge and Rivers won the NBA championship with Boston in 2008.

Ainge is now Utah’s CEO and preached the same patience as he faced a rebuild this season. He also trusted rookie coach Will Hardy.

“He’s never very emotional with his reaction,” Hardy said. “As a young coach, as a head coach for the first time, it’s very calming. He’s never too angry. He has been incredibly supportive and I really feel like I have his trust.

Jazz: Host the New York Knicks on Tuesday.

76ers: Have the next four days off until another straight home game against Milwaukee on Friday and Minnesota on Saturday.

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