PHILADELPHIA — — De’Anthony Melton hit a go-ahead 3-pointer late in time beyond regulation and James Harden scored 26 points to assist a Philadelphia 76ers team playing without Joel Embiid beat the Indiana Pacers 129-126 on Wednesday night.
Melton put the Sixers ahead 125-124 with 2:16 left in OT. He finished with 19 points.
Montrezl Harrell followed with a rim-rattling dunk, and the Sixers held on for his or her eleventh straight home win. Harrell also had 19 points on 8-for-9 shooting.
“It was certainly one of those games that was almost uncontrolled with the best way everyone was playing,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said.
Embiid, who had been twiddling with a sore lower back, sat out with a sore left foot. Embiid hurt his foot in Monday’s win against Latest Orleans and was ruled out hours before tipoff against Indiana.
Embiid is daily, with missed games in regards to the only aspect slowing down his MVP push. Embiid won the NBA scoring title last season, and his 33.5 average this season has him just behind Dallas star Luka Doncic‘s league-best 34.3 average.
He was named Eastern Conference player of the month for December. Embiid led all players in scoring at 35.4 points within the month on 55% shooting from the ground and 42% from 3-point range.
Without Embiid, the Sixers needed more production off the bench — and got it, notably from backup center Harrell. Harrell, the NBA Sixth Man of the Yr in 2019-2020 when Rivers still coached the Los Angeles Clippers, made all five baskets in the primary half and scored 12 points.
“With Joel being out, Montrezl was playing well on each ends of the ball,” Harden said. “He’s a real vet.”
Harden missed two free throws with 28 seconds left in OT and the Sixers up one. But he had an enormous blocked shot late that preserved the lead and arrange two Sixers free throws that essentially sealed the win.
The Pacers stormed back within the fourth, keyed by Hield’s 3 that pulled them inside one and a Mathurin bucket on a goaltending call during a 10-0 run.
The Sixers pulled ahead on Melton’s fourth 3 of the sport, but Hield hit a 3 and Myles Turner scored for a 120-116 lead.
The Pacers outscored the Sixers 36-23 within the fourth but couldn’t hold on in the ultimate minutes.
“We never must have been in time beyond regulation. We all know that,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “We want to grow stronger from this. We have got to learn from among the things that happened and we have got to construct on among the good things, especially down the stretch.”
Harris had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Maxey scored 17 points in his return to the starting lineup after he missed about six weeks with a broken foot.
“He doesn’t have his rhythm yet but it surely’s coming,” Rivers said. “You possibly can see it. He’ll be back very soon.”
Pacers: Former 76ers guard and Pittsburgh native T.J. McConnell wore a Damar Hamlin jersey to the sport. “I just wanted to indicate support for a fellow Pittsburgh native and athlete, and let him and his family know that each one of us listed here are considering of him and praying for him,” McConnell said.
76ers: Harden has a minimum of 20 points and five assists in six straight games. … Won their third OT game of the season … Improved to 15-1 after leading at halftime.
Pacers: Host Portland on Friday.
76ers: Host Chicago on Friday. Rivers said he didn’t know if Embiid would play Friday.
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