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Embiid scores 26, leads 76ers past LeBron-less Lakers 105-87

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.

Los Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis, center, dunks the ball as Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, center left, looks on during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP PhotoChris Szagola)

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.

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.

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, right, goes up for the shot against Los Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP PhotoChris Szagola)

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.

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.

Los Angeles Lakers' Carmelo Anthony, right, drives to the basket against Philadelphia 76ers' Isaiah Joe, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP PhotoChris Szagola)

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.

Los Angeles Lakers' Russell Westbrook, bottom, loses control of the ball with Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, top, defending during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP PhotoChris Szagola)

“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.

TIP-INS

Los Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis, right, goes up for the shot after getting past Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP PhotoChris Szagola)

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.

OFF NIGHT?

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.

DR. WHO?

The Sixers spelled Hall of Famer Julius Erving’s name “Irving” when they showed him on the big screen.

UP NEXT

Lakers: Play Friday at Charlotte.

76ers: Host the Sacramento Kings on Saturday.

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