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Joel Embiid had 45 points and 13 rebounds, and the Philadelphia 76ers made a franchise-record 17 3-pointers in the first half of a 131-122 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night that moved them into a tie with Boston atop the Atlantic Division.
Embiid banked in a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer and shot 18 for 30 overall while moving into the NBA scoring lead with 30.4 points per game. He had 27 points and seven rebounds in the first half, helping Philadelphia take control with a 49-point second quarter that led to an 82-59 halftime lead.
Buddy Hield scored 25 points and Tyrese Haliburton had 21 points, eight rebounds and five assists for Indiana, which has lost a season-worst eight in a row.
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The 76ers, meanwhile, continued to build momentum for a playoff push that begins next week — and perhaps Embiid’s pitch as league MVP.
And they did nothing to disappoint Tuesday.
Tyrese Maxey made a career-high eight 3s, seven in the first half, and had 30 points for the 76ers. James Harden had 11 points and 14 assists.
The Pacers never fully recovered from the Sixers’ blistering start, though they did cut the deficit to 111-106 with 9:19 left to play. But Philadelphia answered with a 10-3 run to put it away.
76ers: Embiid posted his 12th game this season with 40 or more points and at least 10 rebounds, the most in one season since Russell Westbrook did it 12 times in 2016-17. … DeAndre Jordan was ejected for a flagrant foul with 9:19 left in the game. … Philadelphia lost its only previous meeting this season against Indiana. The two teams meet for the third and final time this season Saturday.
Pacers: Indiana finished this season with a 16-25 record at home, its second straight sub-.500 mark after 31 straight seasons of posting winning records at home. … Fan favorite Lance Stephenson had 10 points in what could be his final home game in Indy. …
Pacers guard T.J. McConnell returned to action Tuesday, marking his first appearance in a game since Dec. 1. McConnell missed 54 games with ligament damage in his right wrist and made it back against his former team.
“He wants to play, he wants to come back, he wants to get that feel and what it’s like playing with his teammates before the summer,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s worked really hard and I think it took him longer than expected.”
76ers: Visit Toronto on Thursday before closing out the regular season with two home games.
Pacers: Head to Philadelphia on Saturday.