CLEVELAND (AP) — Joel Embiid had 36 points and 18 rebounds and played the final 4:12 after initially being called for his sixth foul, leading the Philadelphia 76ers to their sixth straight victory, 118-109 over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.
James Harden added 28 points and Tyrese Maxey had 23 for the Sixers. They were up 108-101 when Embiid was whistled for an offensive charge on Evan Mobley while making a jumper.
As Cleveland fans began to celebrate Embiid’s apparent disqualification, Sixers coach Doc Rivers immediately challenged the call, which was overturned after a replay review and the superstar was allowed to stay on the floor.
With Embiid in foul trouble, the Cavs attacked the rim and closed to 110-107 before Maxey drained a 3-pointer and the 76ers made five straight free throws in the final 51 seconds to close it out.
Caris LeVert scored 24 points and Donovan Mitchell added 21 for the Cavs, who were playing the second night of a back-to-back. Cleveland was without center Jarrett Allen, who missed his third straight game with a bruised right eye.
The Cavs have tried various defensive schemes — double- and triple-teams, shadowing — to try and slow the versatile Embiid, a rare big man who can play out on the perimeter and inside.
“This is a unique human being we’re talking about,” Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “We’ll keep throwing things at him and see if something sticks.”
It didn’t start well for Cleveland as Embiid drew two fouls on the Cavs in the first 43 seconds.
But although he was giving up 65 pounds, Mobley showed no fear while guarding the All-Star center and he got plenty of help as the Cavs collapsed on Embiid any time he touched the ball near the hoop.
Embiid made his trips to the foul line count, sinking all 10 attempts.
Down by 13, the Sixers went on an 18-1 in the third quarter while holding the Cavs without a field goal for more than six minutes.
Cleveland got a huge lift from its bench in building a 60-55 halftime lead as LeVert scored 14 points and Cedi Osman added eight.
LeVert closed the second quarter by hitting a 3-pointer in the final second, and was then rewarded with a foul shot when Harden was called for a Flagrant-1 foul for not allowing him to land after shooting.
76ers: F Jalen McDaniel (bruise hip) missed his first game this season with an injury after being hurt Sunday against Washington. McDaniel was acquired from Charlotte on Feb. 9 … NBA dunk champion Mac McClung is on a G League assignment with Delaware. McClung has yet to appear in a game for Philadelphia.
Cavaliers: Lamar Stevens started for Allen, who has missed three games. … Mobley is one of three players averaging at least 15 points, eight rebounds, two assists and one block while shooting 50% from the field. Embiid and Anthony Davis are the others. … Cleveland has 10 games left — five home, five road. … G Ricky Rubio sat out his “bobblehead night” as the team continues to monitor his minutes following knee surgery. Before the game, Bickerstaff said Rubio was available but only in an emergency situation.
76ers: At Charlotte on Friday night.
Cavaliers: Host Washington on Friday night.
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