PHILADELPHIA — Wearing No. 24 in honor of Kobe Bryant, Joel Embiid scored 24 points in his first game in three weeks, leading the Philadelphia 76ers to a 115-104 win over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night.

Embiid and the rest of the Sixers wore No. 24 and No. 8 Bryant jerseys in warm-ups in honor of the Los Angeles Lakers’ star, who was killed Sunday in a helicopter crash. Embiid was granted permission from Hall of Famer Bobby Jones to wear the retired No. 24 instead of his usual 21 for his first game since he tore a ligament in a finger in his left hand.

The Sixers went 6-3 without Embiid, the first Sixer to be voted to three straight All-Star Games since Allen Iverson.

Embiid had averaged 23.4 points and 12.3 rebounds in 31 games this season. Against the Warriors, Embiid played with a splint on his hand that didn’t affect him when he buried a 3 that sent the Sixers into halftime with a 59-54 lead.

Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons had “Mamba Forever” and “RIP Gigi” (for Bryant’s daughter, among the nine killed in the crash) on each sneaker and scored 17 points.

The Sixers were the latest team to honor Bryant in a pregame ceremony. Bryant led suburban Lower Merion High School to the Class AAAA state title at Hersheypark Arena in 1996, the school’s first since 1943. His framed No. 33 Aces jersey was displayed at midcourt and the Sixers held a 33-second moment of silence of Bryant and the other eight victims in Sunday’s crash. The Sixers rang a bell nine times and shone nine lights on the court during the solemn remembrance. The Sixers skipped pregame introductions for both teams and instead played a video of Bryant’s last introduction in Philadelphia in a December 2015 game and images of him with Allen Iverson and Julius Erving.

Yes, all teams have been affected by Bryant’s death, but it struck particularly hard in Philly, where the former NBA star had a turbulent relationship with Philadelphia. His high school coach Gregg Downer spoke to the media for the first time earlier in the day, and wore Bryant’s No. 33 Lower Merion warmup jacket.

PELICANS 125, CAVALIERS 111: Zion Williamson scored 14 points – all inside – in an uneventful NBA road debut and Jrue Holiday scored 26, leading New Orleans over Cleveland.

Playing in just his fourth game, Williamson added nine rebounds in 30 minutes, his most as a pro. He didn’t do anything spectacular or particularly crowd pleasing, but that hardly mattered to the Pelicans, who are just happy to have the hyped rookie on the floor and healthy.

HORNETS 97, KNICKS 92: Terry Rozier scored 30 points and host Charlotte rallied from a 13-point deficit to beat New York, snapping a season-high, eight-game losing streak.

Charlotte trailed by 13 points three times in the second quarter before closing within 50-47 at halftime and taking the lead for good late in the third quarter against New York.

The Hornets hadn’t won since Jan. 4 and their losing streak was the longest for the franchise since the 2014-15 season.

RAPTORS 130, HAWKS 114: Kyle Lowry had 12 points and 11 assists while becoming Toronto’s career assist leader and the Raptors beat visiting Atlanta for their season-best eighth straight win.

GRIZZLIES 104, NUGGETS 96: Dillon Brooks scored 24 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 23 points and 12 rebounds, and host Memphis won its third straight.

Ja Morant had 14 points and Brandon Clarke finished with 12 as Memphis led from start to finish. Jaren Jackson Jr. had 10 points and blocked a career-high seven shots.

Denver’s Nikola Jokic had 25 points and and 13 rebounds for his 22nd double-double in 28 games.


TIMBERWOLVES: Coach Ryan Saunders was eager to work after a restless night, a lack of sleep that was not attributable to the nocturnal habits of his 7-month-old son.

His team was the cause after a late-game collapse so stunning it’s all but destined to serve as the defining moment of the season no matter what else comes down the stretch.

“We put ourselves in the history books for the wrong reason,” said star center Karl-Anthony Towns, who has not been on the floor for a victory since Nov. 27.

The Timberwolves lost a 17-point lead on Sacramento on Monday with just 2:49 left in regulation, proceeding to lose 133-129 to the Kings in overtime. According to ESPN research, this was the first time in 8,379 games – since the tracking of NBA play-by-play data began with the 1996-97 season – that a team trailing by 17 or more points in the final three minutes had rallied to win.

The Timberwolves had a double-digit lead for 36:18 of game time that lasted until 1:05 remained in the fourth quarter. They led 108-86 with 6:20 to go in the fourth quarter, 115-98 when Andrew Wiggins hit a 3-pointer with 2:49 remaining in regulation and still 117-103 with 1:46 left.

The Wolves were up 119-113 with 34.9 seconds on the clock when Shabazz Napier went to the foul line and missed both tries. Buddy Hield’s 3-pointer and De’Aaron Fox’s intentionally missed second free throw he turned into an uncontested layup with 3.6 seconds remaining for the Kings forged a tie that was unfathomable just a few possessions earlier.

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