NEW YORK – Joel Embiid scored 29 points when Philadelphia 76ers halted their three-game losing streak with a stark 144-114 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday.
The Sixers fell to defeat the Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks and the lowly Detroit Pistons heading into Saturday’s early home game at the Wells Fargo Center.
But Embiid and a balanced Sixers attack weren’t in the mood for a fourth straight loss to 10th-placed Charlotte in the Eastern Conference.
The Sixers took a tight 58-53 lead in the first half but trailed off with a 45-point performance in the third quarter before picking up 41 points in the fourth to claim a crunch victory.
Embiid finished with 29 points, 14 rebounds and 6 assists while Tobias Harris had 23 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
Tyrese Maxey added 19 points while James Harden finished with 12 points and 13 assists.
The Sixers improve to 47-30 with the win to maintain fourth place in the Eastern Conference, within distance of touching a playoff location.
Miles Bridges leads Charlotte’s scoreboard with 20 points, with PJ Washington adding 14 and point guard LaMelo Ball 13.
“It was a great game for us, after a disappointing loss in Detroit,” the Sixers’ Harris said afterward.
“Just being able to pick up the pace today and get started is important to us.”
Harris said the Sixers were determined to get off to a strong start at half-time following recent poor performances in the third quarter.
“We didn’t have the best start to the third quarter in the last couple of games, so that was a highlight for us – we had a lot of energy in that third quarter,” he said.
The Sixers could claim a playoff spot on Sunday with a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who beat the eliminated New York Knicks 119-101 in another early game on Saturday.
The Cavaliers finished seventh in the Eastern Conference with a score of 43-35, just outside the top six automatic playoff kicks.
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