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Embiid scores career-high 26 as Sixers rout Suns 120-105.
PHILADELPHIA — Up until the start of Saturday’s game, it seemed unlikely that Joel Embiid would play at all.
He ended up having the best game of his short NBA career.
Fighting through a sprained left ankle, Embiid scored a career-high 26 points in 20 minutes, and the Philadelphia 76ers routed the Phoenix Suns 120-105 for their most convincing win of the season.
“I felt great,” Embiid said. “When you play, you don’t really pay attention to those kind of things. During the game, I was fine. Even now, it’s fine.”
Nik Stauskas added a season-high 21 points on 8-for-9 shooting for the Sixers, who have split their last six games after starting the season with seven straight losses. Sergio Rodriguez had eight points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.
Eric Bledsoe led Phoenix (4-10) with 27 points. The Suns have lost three of their first four on their six-game road trip.
“You give any team confidence at home and they can get rolling,” Suns coach Earl Watson said. “They have a lot of confidence here. The crowd was energetic and Embiid in limited minutes was more than effective.”
Embiid was 3 for 5 from 3-point range and 9 for 14 from the field overall. He also grabbed seven rebounds and blocked two shots, including a ferocious one on Devin Booker in the second quarter that got the crowd roaring.
The 7-foot-2 center, playing in just his ninth NBA game after a pair of foot surgeries sidelined him for his first two seasons, reached his career high on a jumper with 8:30 left.
After a three-point play from Bledsoe got Phoenix within six midway through the third quarter, the Sixers reeled off a 10-0 run to open an 82-66 lead. They led by double figures the rest of the way against a banged-up Phoenix team playing the second end of a back-to-back.