76ERS 115 CELTICS 109
BOSTON (AP) — Joel Embiid responded to criticism from Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley to score a season-high 38 points and add 13 rebounds in the Philadelphia 76ers 115-109 victory over the Boston Celtics on Thursday night.
Embiid scored 16 points in the fourth quarter, hitting five of six free throws in the final 26 seconds to hold off Boston’s last charge. With Philadelphia leading by four in the final 15 seconds, he blocked Daniel Theis’ shot to help clinch it.
Earlier in the week, Barkley said Embiid is the toughest matchup in the league, but he doesn’t take advantage of it. O’Neal said on the TNT broadcast that Embiid shouldn’t settle for 22 points a game, his current average, but should aim for more like 28 or 30.
Tobias Harris had 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Sixers. They who won their fourth straight eighth in nine tries.
Kemba Walker scored 29 points for Boston, which lost at home for the first time all season. Enes Kanter added 20 points and nine rebounds, and Gordon Hayward scored 19 points.
MAVERICKS 122, PISTONS 111
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Luka Doncic scored 41 points and had his eighth triple-double of the season, Seth Curry added a season-high 30 points and Dallas beat Detroit Pistons in the opener of the NBA Mexico Games.
Doncic finished with 12 rebounds and 11 assists for the Mavericks. They are 17-7, their best 24-game start since posting the same mark at this point of the 2014-15 season.
Andre Drummond led the Pistons with 23 points and 15 rebounds.
CAVALIERS 117, SPUTS 109, OT
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Kevin Love hit a tying 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation and finished with 30 points and 17 rebounds as Cleveland beat San Antonio to snap an eight-game losing streak.
Love had 10 points in the fourth quarter and OT to help Cleveland win for the first time since Nov. 23 against Portland.
DeMar DeRozan had 21 points for the Spurs.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports