Joel Embiid, James Harden lead 76ers to 8th straight NBA victory

NEW YORK — The Philadelphia 76ers weren’t playing well, and worse than that, Joel Embiid thought he was playing soft.

He and James Harden have the Sixers on too good a roll to stay down too long.

“We just know what to do,” Embiid said.

Embiid scored 35 points, Harden had 29 points and 13 assists and the Sixers blew by the New York Knicks in the final quarter, extending their winning streak to eight games with a 119-112 victory Sunday.

Georges Niang made four three-pointers in Philadelphia’s fourth-quarter surge and finished with 16 points.

After never leading through three quarters, the Sixers outscored the Knicks 24-9 to open the fourth, turning a one-point deficit into a 116-102 lead.

Julius Randle scored 35 points and Jalen Brunson had 23 points and 11 assists for the Knicks, who have lost three straight after an eight-game winning streak.

“We’re just not doing enough to win right now and that’s what we have to fix,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said.

Dallas honors Nowitzki with win

DALLAS — Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks had trailed from the opening bucket when the crowd erupted at the sight of retired star Dirk Nowitzki on the video boards late in the first half.

Nowitzki’s old team soon joined the celebration on the day of his statue unveiling at the arena.

Doncic scored 32 points, Tim Hardaway Jr. had 16 of his 26 points in a huge third quarter for Dallas and the Mavericks beat the Los Angeles Lakers 124-115.

Christian Wood added 30 points as the Mavericks finished off the Nowitzki celebration by winning the second Christmas Day home game in club history.

Dallas took its first lead during a 51-point third quarter, the highest-scoring quarter on Christmas in NBA history and a league best this season.

LeBron James scored 38 points, one shy of his season high, and the Lakers led by 12 early in the third before the Mavericks surged.

“We talked about before the game just being ready to initiate, sustain and finish with energy, effort and competitiveness,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “We left it in the locker room at halftime.”

Warriors roll

SAN FRANCISCO — Jordan Poole scored 32 points before being ejected as the Golden State Warriors beat Memphis 123-109 in a rematch of the Western Conference finals won by Golden State.

Ja Morant of the Grizzlies scored 36 points while debuting his first Nike signature “Ja 1” shoe.

Former Washington State standout Klay Thompson had 24 points and nine rebounds for the Warriors, who haven’t had superstar guard Stephen Curry for the last five games because of a shoulder injury.

Tensions were high during the game, just as they were in the playoff series seven months ago. Poole was tossed for the first time in his career with 9:20 left and Golden State had six technical fouls.

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