CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Joel Embiid had 38 points and 13 rebounds in just 29 minutes, and the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Charlotte Hornets 121-82 on Friday night for their seventh straight victory.
Embiid scored 12 points in each of the first two quarters before calling it an early night in a game the 76ers (47-22) led by 42 points in the second half.
Embiid also had five assists and four blocked shots and was serenaded in each half with chants of “MVP! MVP!” by the many 76ers fans in a sellout crowd of 19,096 at Charlotte’s Spectrum Center.
“One of our goals was to come in from the start and set the tone and not play in the fourth quarter,” Embiid said. “I’m glad we did it. We came out aggressive, starting on defense (in the second half). We did a pretty good job in the first half but we knew we had a little more left and we tried to corrected the mistakes that we had made.”
James Harden had 11 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for Philadelphia, which also got 18 points and five rebounds from Tobias Harris, 13 points from Tyrese Maxey and 12 points from Shake Milton.
“It was a professional win,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said. “They’re struggling a little bit and we just attacked. I liked how we played defensively and I liked how we moved the ball.”
Terry Rozier scored 14 points, P.J. Washington had 12 points and six rebounds, and Kelly Oubre Jr. finished with 11 points for Charlotte (22-50).
“They went 9-0 to start the third, and that was the biggest problem area,” Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “Again, (we were) impatient on offense, (we were) trying to challenge Embiid at the rim. Not good decision making in the paint, which has been a problem, and then they scored at the other end. I thought that was the key stretch.”
Embiid had an efficient effort before he was pulled for good late in the third quarter. The 7-foot, 280-pound center converted 16 of 21 field goals and made six of seven free throws.
“I like what he’s doing,” Rivers said. “He’s scoring and tonight he had 38 points in under three quarters. But he’s also dominating the game on the other end and he’s making the right passes. He’s including his teammates. He’s not forcing anything. He’s doing everything out of the flow of the game and it’s happening naturally, organically. And, defensively, he’s been dominant.”
76ers: Jalen McDaniels, acquired in trade from the Hornets on Feb. 9, wasn’t able to play in the city where he started his career. He missed his second straight game due to a right hip contusion.
Hornets: Rozier celebrated his 29th birthday. And, as a person born on St. Patrick’s Day, Rozier has a “3-17” tattoo on the back of his head.
76ers: At Indiana on Saturday.
Hornets: Host Indiana on Monday.