Ben Simmons soars for a dunk during the first half against the New York Knicks. PHOTO: Matt Slocum/ap
Ben Simmons soars for a dunk during the first half against the New York Knicks. PHOTO: Matt Slocum/ap

76ers, Cavs neck-and-neck in East

DARIO Saric had 26 points and 14 rebounds for the Philadelphia 76ers as they won their eighth straight game, despite losing All-Star Joel Embiid to a facial injury early in the second quarter, beating the New York Knicks 118-101.

JJ Redick scored 21 points and Australia's Ben Simmons added 13 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds for Philadelphia (44-30), which stayed a half-game behind Cleveland for third in the Eastern Conference.

The 76ers, who have already clinched their first play-off appearance since 2012, have the franchise's most victories since the 2002-03 team's tally of 48.

After a nasty collision with teammate Markelle Fultz, Embiid was ruled out for the rest of the game with a facial contusion.

The 76ers said he went through concussion protocol but did not have a concussion.

For New York, it was its fourth loss in five games.

Emmanuel Mudiay and Michael Beasley had 22 points apiece for the Knicks.

The 76ers stretched their four-point half-time advantage to 91-77 on Saric's lay-up with 2:42 left in the third period. New York never threatened in the final quarter.

Fultz, the No.1 overall pick in last June's draft, played for the second straight game after sitting out for most of the season while recovering from a shoulder injury.

The 19-year-old guard had three points, five rebounds and seven assists in 13 minutes against the Knicks. But Fultz's biggest blow came against his own teammate.

Fultz was driving towards the basket 20 seconds into the second when he appeared to accidentally headbutt Embiid. The centre immediately went to the floor. As a hush came over the sell-out crowd, he remained down for several minutes before he was helped off the court.

Fultz was not injured on the play. Embiid finished with five points and three rebounds in eight minutes.

Ben Simmons can go left or right hand at the rim. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Ben Simmons can go left or right hand at the rim. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

 

LeBron James matched Michael Jordan's streak of 866 consecutive double-digit scoring games, shooting 41 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Charlotte Hornets 118-105 on Thursday.

James finished 14/26 from the field and had 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Cavaliers, who remained ahead of the 76ers for the third-best record in the Eastern Conference.

In the second quarter, James matched Jordan's 17-year-old mark - against the team Jordan owns -  when he scored his 10th point on a powerful alley-oop dunk off a pass from JR Smith.

The 33-year-old James, who began his streak on January 6, 2007, can break Jordan's record on Saturday at home against the New Orleans Pelicans.

He wasn't the only one making history. Kemba Walker scored 21 points to pass Dell Curry as the Hornets' career scoring leader.

Walker received a big hug from James after breaking the mark with 20 seconds left on a reverse lay-up. Walker broke down in tears a few moments later as he was being interviewed on the court.

"I wasn't supposed to be here ... anything is possible. If I can do it, anybody can," Walker said to the crowd.

James scored 16 points in the second quarter and 13 in the third on 10-of-15 shooting, including 4/6 from beyond the arc as the Cavaliers built a 17-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

With authority. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
With authority. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

The Hornets cut Cleveland's 20-point lead to 11 points but James re-entered the game and made an immediate impact with a few more highlight reel plays.

He stole Frank Kaminsky's pass near the top of the key, raced the length of the floor and threw down an emphatic one-handed dunk over Jeremy Lamb.

Then with 3:09 left in the game, he grabbed a miss by Rodney Hood out of the air and dunked it hard, underlining  the Cavaliers' victory.

James left the game to a standing ovation from the Charlotte crowd, which was filled with Cavaliers fans wearing his  No.23 jersey.

Jordan's streak came with the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards from 1986-2001.

- AP



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