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NBA roundup: Joel Embiid returns to help 76ers beat Nets for 3-1 series lead

UPDATED: Sat., April 20, 2019, 11 p.m.

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid dunks during the second half of Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets, Saturday, April 20, 2019, in New York. (Mary Altaffer / Associated Press)
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid dunks during the second half of Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets, Saturday, April 20, 2019, in New York. (Mary Altaffer / Associated Press)
Associated Press

NEW YORK – Joel Embiid had 31 points and 16 rebounds, and passed to Mike Scott for the go-ahead 3-pointer with 18 seconds left as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Brooklyn Nets 112-108 on Saturday to take a 3-1 series lead.

Embiid also had a flagrant foul that led to a scuffle and two ejections during an eventful return to the lineup after missing Game 3 with a sore left knee.

Tobias Harris had 24 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the 76ers. They can advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals for the second straight season with a victory at home Tuesday night.

They got a big boost from the return of Embiid, who scored eight straight points in the fourth quarter after the Nets led by seven. He helped the 76ers overcome the loss of Jimmy Butler, who was ejected in the third quarter after Embiid’s hard foul on Jarrett Allen.

Caris LeVert scored 25 points after being inserted into the Nets’ starting lineup. D’Angelo Russell and Allen each added 21.

Jared Dudley also was inserted into the starting lineup for the Nets and had been agitating the 76ers with his defense and his talking, but was gone midway through the third quarter as one of the central figures in the scuffle that spilled into the stands.

Embiid swung his arm forcefully while fouling Allen, and Dudley quickly moved in and bumped Embiid. Butler then ran in and pushed Dudley to start the shoving. Dudley, Simmons and referee Ed Malloy all got knocked into the seats, and after a lengthy video review, Butler and Dudley were given technical fouls and ejected, and Embiid’s foul was ruled a flagrant 1.

Embiid would later make the biggest mark with his offense. The 76ers were trying to get the ball to him trailing by one after Joe Harris’ layup, but Embiid couldn’t control the pass under the rim. But he regained the ball and found Scott in the corner for a 3 and a 110-108 lead.

Allen then turned the ball over after three Sixers surrounded him and Harris closed out the scoring with two free throws.

Nuggets 107, Spurs 103

SAN ANTONIO – Nikola Jokic had 29 points and 12 rebounds, Jamal Murray added 24 points and Denver beat San Antonio, rebounding from a flat performance tie the series at two games apiece.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and nine rebounds for San Antonio. DeMar DeRozan added 19 points before he was ejected with five minutes remaining after arguing with an official over an offensive foul.

Game 5 is Tuesday night in Denver.

Bucks 119, Pistons 103

DETROIT – Khris Middleton had 20 points and nine rebounds and Milwaukee beat Detroit to take a 3-0 series lead.

The Bucks can finish off the Eastern Conference series Monday night in Detroit.

The Bucks overcame 27 points, seven rebounds and six assists from Blake Griffin in his return from a right knee injury. He missed the first two games of the series after sitting out four of the final six in the regular season.

Brook Lopez and Eric Bledsoe each scored 19 points for Milwaukee. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 14 points and 10 rebounds, struggling with foul trouble.

Rockets 104, Jazz 101

SALT LAKE CITY – James Harden overcome a horrible shooting performance and scored 14 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Houston past Utah for a commanding 3-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.

Harden made a 3-pointer and added two free throws with 42.4 seconds left to give the Rockets a 101-97 lead. After Donovan Mitchell made two free throws, Harden missed another 3-point attempt, but P.J. Tucker, who finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, grabbed the rebound, was fouled and made one of two free throws.

Mitchell had a wide-open look at a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession, but like so many of his shots in the hard-fought contest, it was off the mark.

Harden misfired on his first 15 shots and was 3-for-20 shooting with 10 assists. He was 14 for 16 from the line.

Chris Paul scored 18 points and Clint Capela had 11 points and 14 rebounds for the Rockets, who won despite shooting 38.4 percent from the field and 67.6 percent from the line.

Mitchell scored 34 points but struggled shooting, too, making just 9 of his 27 attempts. Derrick Favors had 13 for the Jazz.

Game 4 is Monday night in Utah.

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