PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Joel Embiid scored 24 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, and Dario Saric had 24 points and four 3s as the Philadelphia 76ers rolled 100-82 over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night.
Embiid, a game-time decision with a sore ankle, hit his first six shots from the floor and scored 16 points in the first quarter, two more than the Pelicans, as the Sixers led by 18 after a quarter.
Embiid recorded his 27th double-double of the season by halftime, with 20 points on 9-for-11 shooting and 10 rebounds. He now has a double-double in seven straight games, matching his season high.
Embiid’s one block made an impact. Nikola Mirotic drove in for what looked like a layup at the first-half buzzer, but Embiid swatted it away as the horn sounded with the Sixers up 56-41.
Philadelphia poured it on in the third, scoring the final 14 points of the quarter to extend the lead to 32 over uninspired New Orleans. The Pelicans shouldn’t have been fatigued. They hadn’t played since Monday after Wednesday’s home game against Indiana was postponed because of a leaky roof at the Smoothie King Center.
The Sixers, who have made a habit of losing large leads this season, had no problem this time and led by as many as 35 in the fourth quarter.
Anthony Davis led New Orleans with 14 points on 6-for-19 shooting.
Despite sitting the fourth quarter, Ben Simmons nearly had a triple-double with 10 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
Markelle Fultz, the top overall pick in last year’s NBA draft, may not play again this season as he deals with a right shoulder injury and works on his shot.
“There’s always a chance that he’s going to be out there soon, and there’s a chance that he’s not going to play this year,” Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said Friday morning.
Colangelo said Fultz is “literally retraining his shooting mechanics right now” but is performing well in other areas besides perimeter shooting.
“We are talking about a situation where someone’s relearning how to shoot a basketball, and that was one of his elite skill sets,” Colangelo said. “That’s got to be frustrating.”
Pelicans: Signed Monday after having signed two 10-day contracts last month, point guard DeAndre Liggins made his first start of the season, taking Rajon Rondo’s spot. Alvin Gentry said the hope was to lessen the workload on Jrue Holiday and allow Rondo to spark the second unit, which has struggled without injured big man DeMarcus Cousins.
The experiment didn’t last long. Liggins played six minutes in the first quarter and none in the second. He failed to score in 19 minutes.
New Orleans has now lost five of six since Cousins was lost for the season with an injured Achilles.
76ers: Philadelphia in the first quarter held New Orleans to five field goals and forced six turnovers.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith were in attendance and received loud ovations. The city held the parade Thursday to celebrate the Super Bowl champs.
Pelicans: New Orleans’ next stop is New York to face the Brooklyn Nets.
76ers: Los Angeles Clippers come to town Saturday night.