Joel Embiid had 41 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds and the host Philadelphia 76ers used an 18-2 run in the fourth quarter to defeat the Denver Nuggets 126-121 on Tuesday.
It was the 18th straight game that Embiid scored at least 30 points. Embiid’s streak of 16 in a row with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds came to an end.
Tyrese Maxey added 25 points and nine assists and Tobias Harris scored 24 points as the Sixers won their third consecutive game. Kelly Oubre Jr. contributed 11 points.
Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with 25 points and 19 rebounds, 11 off the offensive glass. Michael Porter Jr. scored 20 points and Jamal Murray had 17 points and 10 assists.
The Nuggets closed within 125-121 with 26.6 seconds remaining when Porter was fouled on a 3-pointer and hit all three free throws.
Aaron Gordon contributed 16 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 13 for the Nuggets, who had won two straight.
After an offensive rebound, Reggie Jackson capitalized and made a 3-pointer with 8:41 left in the fourth quarter for a 111-105 lead.
Marcus Morris Sr. soon converted a rare four-point play to tie the score at 111 with 7:28 remaining.
Embiid stayed aggressive and completed a three-point play with 5:30 left for a 118-113 lead. After a 3-pointer by Embiid, the Sixers extended to a 121-113 advantage with 4:55 to go.
Porter knocked down a 3-pointer with 4:43 left in the second quarter for a 63-59 lead.
Embiid made 1 of 2 free throws and then added a difficult layup to trim the 76ers’ deficit to 63-62 with 4:03 remaining.
Jokic countered with a jumper with 2:03 left for a 71-69 advantage.
Maxey followed with a trey, Oubre scored and Harris threw down a dunk for a 76-71 lead with 1:09 remaining.
Murray drained a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to tie the score at 78.
Embiid paced the Sixers with 23 points in the first half. Philadelphia shot a sizzling 28-of-42 from the field — 66.7 percent.
The Sixers pulled ahead 97-89 with 5:44 left in the third after Harris’ 3-pointer.
Caldwell-Pope hit a trey with 1:57 remaining and the Nuggets cut the deficit to 99-98. Jokic hit two jumpers, and the Nuggets went on to lead 104-99 at the end of the third.