Pelicans charge to a 36-point lead, hold on to beat the slumping 76ers 103-95

Fri, Mar 8, 2024
NBA News (AP)

Pelicans charge to a 36-point lead, hold on to beat the slumping 76ers 103-95

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Zion Williamson had 23 points and 12 rebounds and Naji Marshall scored 19 points to lead the New Orleans Pelicans to a 103-95 win on Friday night over a Philadelphia 76ers team spiraling without injured All-Stars Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey.

The Pelicans held on after a 36-point lead was trimmed to five on a Jeff Dowtin Jr. 3-pointer with 45 seconds left in the game. The 76ers scored 34 points in a hard-charging fourth quarter, but simply ran out of time to complete a tremendous comeback.

Tobias Harris had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Sixers, and Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 20.

The Sixers lost for the 15th time in 21 games, dropping the expected Eastern Conference contender to seventh in the standings entering the game.

They are 6-11 since Embiid went down in a Jan. 30 game when Golden State's Jonathan Kuminga fell on the 7-footer's left leg. There is still no timetable on Embiid's return from knee surgery.

The 76ers lost their third straight game without Maxey, who is recovering from a concussion. Maxey lost his balance on a drive Sunday in the third quarter of a game at Dallas and banged his head on another player's knee. He left the game, but was able to return and finish.

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Coach Nick Nurse said ahead of the game Maxey was "doing just fine" following the steps of the NBA concussion protocol and hopeful of returning for Sunday's game against the Knicks.

Think the 76ers miss their franchise stars? The Sixers scored only 15 points in the first quarter and went nearly three minutes into the second quarter before they scored a point. The 76ers missed 18 of 20 3s in the first half.

While Embiid and Maxey are the biggest names sitting out, the Sixers have been riddled by injuries this season - Nic Batum (left foot soreness) was added to a list of absent players that also included Robert Covington (knee) and De'Anthony Melton (back).

That helped make it an easy night for the Pelicans. They hit five 3s and made a whopping 14 of 20 shots overall in the first quarter to grab a 23-point lead. Under coach and former 76ers guard Willie Green, the Pelicans are fifth in the West.

The Pelicans led 50-20 and had another romp in sight before letting the Sixers get tantalizing close in the waning moments. They tied a franchise record with a 48-point first quarter last Friday in a 27-point win over the Pacers. New Orleans won by 41 points and handed the short-handed Raptors the worst home defeat in franchise history on Tuesday night.

UP NEXT

Pelicans: Play Sunday at Atlanta.

76ers: Play Sunday at New York.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba

DAN GELSTON Gelston is an an Associated Press sports writer covering major college and pro sports in Philadelphia, including the 76ers, Flyers, Eagles, Phillies and Villanova. twitter mailto "
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