Philadelphia (USA), May 7 (EFE) .- Cameroonian center Joel Embiid maintained his best level of play and between shouts of MVP! MVP! He contributed a double-double of 37 points, 13 rebounds and three assists, which helped the Philadelphia Sixers beat the New Orleans Pelicans 109-107 and reach the seventh consecutive win.
The victory allows the Sixers (46-21) to be closer and closer to the Atlantic Division title and with the best record in the Eastern Conference by having three games of advantage over the Brooklyn Nets, seconds, with just five games of the regular season.
Embiid scored two free throws with 1:39 minutes remaining in regulation time and the Sixers moved within a point of tying the scoreboard.
After the failure of the Pelicans in possession of the ball, the rebound was captured by Embiid, who gave the assist to forward Tobias Harris and with a monumental triple with 1:10 minutes to go gave the victory to the Sixers, who also forced two turnovers by the New Orleans team.
Embiid missed 10 games with a bruise to a bone in his left knee just after the All-Star break (19 total), which could hamper his attempt to win the MVP award.
The Sixers (46-21) won their seventh straight game, the season high, and increased their lead to three games over Brooklyn in the Eastern Conference. Barring a crazy meltdown in the last five games, the Sixers will win conference and home advantage in the conference playoffs. The Sixers are 26-7 at home this season and won another close game against a Pelicans team that was playing without Zion Williamson (finger).
Embiid and the Sixers advance to a postseason series with the winner of an East inning tournament. Harris scored 17 points.
Friday marked 19 years since former Sixers baseman Allen Iverson continued his memorable “training” spiel when he used the word 22 times in a press conference.
Guards Lonzo Ball and Eric Bledsoe each scored 18 points as the Pelicans’ attack leaders (30-37) away from the Western Conference play-in.
The Pelicans, who had the casualties of their stars, forward Zion Williamson and power forward Brandon Ingram, always stayed in the game and until the last second aspired to victory.
Williamson, with averages of 27 points and 7.2 rebounds in 61 games, will be out indefinitely after suffering a broken left finger.
The 20-year-old forward was lost just as the Pelicans began a five-game road trip against certain or potential playoff teams.
Ingram, the Pelicans’ second leading scorer, was left out of line with a sprained left ankle. New Zealand center Steven Adams (sprained toe) and guard Josh Hart (thumb) also missed the game.
Spanish center Willy Hernangómez started again with the Pelicans and did a great teamwork by getting a double-double of 11 points and nine rebounds, including five defenders.
Hernangómez scored 5 of 10 shots from the field and 1 of 2 from the personnel line, distributed five assists, recovered two balls, lost one and committed three personal fouls in the 24 minutes that he played.
(c) EFE Agency