Joel Embiid had 26 points and nine rebounds, leading the Philadelphia 76ers to a 105-87 victory over a Los Angeles Lakers team playing without LeBron James on Thursday night.
Anthony Davis scored 31 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Lakers.
The 37-year-old James is day to day with a sore left knee. James is second in the league in scoring at 29.1 points per game, on pace for his highest average since the 2009-10 season, and has scored at least 25 points in 18 straight games.
With James absent, Davis kept the Lakers competitive in his second game back after missing 17 with a sprained left knee. He hurt his right wrist in the first half and needed a quick trip to the locker room to get taped up.
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If the wrist bothered him, it sure didn’t show.
Davis went of 10 of 13 in the first half — the Lakers made 20 buckets — for 23 points. He even blocked Embiid’s jumper, then came right down and hit one over the All-Star center. And Davis drew a foul against Embiid on the play.
Davis, though, can’t carry the Lakers alone and the Lakers looked lost at times without him. Russell Westbrook turned the ball over late in the first half when his pass to seemingly nobody went out of bounds. He slammed a roll of tape left on the stanchion with TV equipment.
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Davis dunked late in the third to keep the Lakers within nine, then had a twisting block on the baseline of another Embiid shot.
Davis did his part to neutralize Embiid.
Not many others have come close.
Embiid, the first Sixer voted a starter in at least five straight All-Star Games since Hall of Famer Allen Iverson, had a pretty good off night for the Sixers.
His streak of four games with at least 35 points and 10 rebounds ended. Embiid and Davis are two of only four players to hit those marks since the 1976-77 merger. The durability issues that have pockmarked his career were put to rest this season: Embiid played in his 20th straight game.
“His conditioning, last year, when I came in, we challenged him and he took it,” coach Doc Rivers said before the game. “This year, we challenged him even more and he’s taking it up.”
Tobias Harris scored 23 points for the Sixers and Ty Maxey had 14 points and 10 assists.
Lakers: Westbrook scored 20 points. ... Carmelo Anthony yapped with courtside Sixers fans most of the game and two appeared to get ejected.
76ers: F Danny Green returned to the lineup from a hip injury.
Embiid passed Moses Malone for the 16th on the team’s career scoring list. He did miss all five 3-pointers and was only 8 of 13 from the free throw line. He was 9 of 20 from the floor.
The Sixers spelled Hall of Famer Julius Erving’s name “Irving” when they showed him on the big screen.
LEBRON JAMES OUT
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has a sore left knee and will miss Thursday night's game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel said James is day to day. The Lakers continue their road swing Friday night at Charlotte.
The 37-year-old James is second in the league in scoring at 29.1 points per game, on pace for his highest average since the 2009-10 season, and has scored at least 25 points in 18 straight games.
He’s about to be the first triple-quintuple player in NBA history, with at least 10,000 points, 10,000 rebounds and 10,000 assists. He hit the rebound milestone last week, and he’ll probably hit the assist milestone sometime between now and the All-Star break, if he can stay healthy.
James scored 33 on Tuesday in a win over the Nets, pushing his overall total — including playoffs — to 44,045 points.
LAKERS SIGN STANLEY JOHNSON
The Los Angeles Lakers have signed forward Stanley Johnson for the rest of the season after the Orange County native's strong performances over the past month.
The deal announced Thursday also includes a team option for next season on Johnson, a seven-year NBA veteran.
The Lakers signed Johnson to a 10-day contract on Dec. 24 through the NBA's hardship exemption. He immediately became a steady contributor in Los Angeles' inconsistent frontcourt while playing solid wing defense, and he signed two additional 10-day contracts before the Lakers locked him up for the rest of the year.
Johnson has started six of his 14 games with the Lakers. He is averaging 6.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists while shooting career-highs of 51.6% from the field and 34.4% on 3-pointers.
Johnson began his NBA career in 2015 with the Detroit Pistons, who chose him with the eighth overall pick. He played parts of the last two seasons with Toronto.
Lakers: Play Friday at Charlotte.
76ers: Host the Sacramento Kings on Saturday.