Magic Johnson and LeBron James have won eight NBA titles between them. With Johnson in the stands and James on the court, the 76ers showed off their championship potential.
Joel Embiid had 37 points and 14 rebounds, Tobias Harris scored 22 points in his second game with Philadelphia, and the new-look 76ers beat James and the visiting Lakers 143-120 on Sunday.
JJ Redick added 21 points for the Sixers, who have won two straight after acquiring Harris and four others at Thursday’s trade deadline. Jimmy Butler finished with 15 points in front of a packed house that brought a playoff-like feel to the nationally televised game.
“The East better watch out,” said Johnson, the Lakers’ president who made the trip to Philly for the game. “This is a stacked team.”
Kyle Kuzma led the Lakers with 39 points. James had 18 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
James was facing Philadelphia for the first time since the Sixers made a big push to sign him as a free agent last summer. He and Kuzma both missed the last matchup with Philly on Jan. 29, which the Sixers won 121-105.
“I thought they were going to be very good anyway, before they made any moves, before the season even started,” James said. “And they’ve made a bunch of moves to improve their club.”
Fresh off a buzzer-beating win at Boston, the Lakers shot nearly 60 percent and scored 40 points in the first quarter. But fueled by Redick’s four-point play, the Sixers closed the first half on a 19-6 run to take a 76-67 lead into halftime.
Embiid, who was questionable to play because of gastroenteritis, led the charge with 25 points in the first half after lighting up the Lakers for 28 in the teams’ first matchup.
Philadelphia’s lead ballooned to 109-94 at the end of the third quarter after T.J. McConnell’s 3-pointer in the closing seconds. The Sixers ran away with the game from there while gleeful fans chanted “Kobe’s better” at James.
“We had too many breakdowns,” James said. “Way too many breakdowns.”
Mavericks 102, Trail Blazers 101: Luka Doncic scored 28 points, Tim Hardaway Jr. had 24 and host Dallas erased a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Portland. Doncic also had nine rebounds and six assists. Damian Lillard scored 21 of his 30 points in the last half of the third quarter to help the Blazers build a lead that grew to 96-81 early in the fourth before Dallas started its rally.
Kings 117, Suns 104: Marvin Bagley III was strong off the bench again with a career-high 32 points and six rebounds, and host Sacramento handed Phoenix its 14th straight loss.
Magic 124, Hawks 108: All-Star Nikola Vucevic scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, leading visiting Orlando to the victory. Despite getting into Atlanta around 2:40 a.m. after a 20-point win at East-leading Milwaukee the previous night, Orlando looked like the fresher team by far in recording its third straight victory, tying its best run of the season.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Joel-Embiid-leads-Sixers-past-LeBron-James-and-13605948.php.