PHILADELPHIA trusted ‘The Process’ and the trust finally paid off.
Joel Embiid led the Sixers late push as Philadelphia exacted some measure of revenge in another overtime battle against the Indiana Pacers, 109-105, to score their first win of the season at Wells Fargo Center on Friday (Saturday, Manila time).
Embiid scored 14 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter and overtime periods to carry the Sixers to their first victory in the months of October and November after three years.
The Pacers looked poised to add to the Sixers woes early as a 23-8 second quarter run helped them to build the biggest lead at 14, but the Sixers stormed back and trimmed the gap to 51-50 at the break.
The Philadelphia bench, led by Ersan Ilyasova and Nik Stauskas, waxed hot from the perimeter to push the Sixers up by seven, 76-69, at the 30-second mark of the third frame, before Monta Ellis and Paul George led the comeback for the Pacers to retake the lead, 90-84, midway through the fourth.
A four-point play by Ilyasova and a rare three by Embiid then sparked a 9-3 rally and tied the game at 93-all, setting up the wild finish. Embiid scored six of the Sixers final seven points in the quarter but Ellis completed a three-point play, George knocked down the game-tying free throws and watched the Philadelphia rookie big miss on a jumper at the buzzer of the quarter to head to overtime.
With the Sixers leading 104-103 early in extra period, both teams went cold for two minutes before George’s jumper broke a two-minute dry spell. Then Embiid countered with five straight points off a three-point play and two clutch free throws to seal the win.
Stauskas and Ilyasova each added 14 points back up Embiid for the Sixers to notch their first victory and bring their record to 1-7.
George led all scorers with 26 points, while Ellis added 19 off the bench but the Pacers remained winless on the road in five tries.