Joel Embiid delivered game highs of 31 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Philadelphia 76ers over Toronto 112-97 on Monday in the NBA playoffs.
The Cameroonian big man, a finalist for the NBA Most Valuable Player award, powered the host Sixers to a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven first round playoff series, which continues Wednesday at Toronto.
Philadelphia’s Tyrese Maxey contributed 23 points, nine rebounds and a game-high eight assists, while Tobias Harris added 20 points and 10 rebounds and James Harden had 14 points, six rebounds and six assists.
As a result, Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers took his 100th career NBA playoff triumph.
“We’ve got it all. We’ve just got to put it all together on the floor,” Embiid said. “We have to keep playing the way we’ve been playing. We know what we’ve got to do. We’ve just got to execute.”
In another playoff contest, Jalen Brunson scored a career-high 41 points and Germany’s Maxi Kleber added 25 points off the bench on 8-of-11 3-point shooting to spark the Dallas Mavericks over visiting Utah 110-104.
“We needed this win,” Brunson said. “I just tried to go out there and have fun. I’m just being aggressive, trying to make plays, trying to engage multiple people, trying to create problems. Just playing my game.”
The Mavericks, without injured star playmaker Luka Doncic, pulled level at 1-1 in their series.
Brunson sparked a 10-0 Dallas run to put the Mavs ahead 96-93 with 5:40 remaining. Utah scored the next five points but Kleber followed with back-to-back 3-pointers for a 102-98 Dallas lead and the Jazz never matched them again.
“Maxi was huge,” Brunson said. “We’ve just got to keep playing together, no matter what. We’re just taking one game at a time. This was great but we’ve got to look forward.”
The Mavericks made 22 3-pointers but committed only three turnovers, tying an NBA playoff record.
At Philadelphia, Embiid was unhappy about the Sixers’ 14 turnovers but pleased with their physical play in outrebounding the Raptors 41-35.
“These last two games we’ve been physical, rebounding the ball well, getting second chances,” Embiid said. “We didn’t do a good job taking care of the ball. We have to do a better job next game.”