Tobias Harris paired 18 points with seven rebounds in 24 minutes while Joel Embiid added 14 points and six rebounds in limited action as the Philadelphia 76ers turned a blistering first-half shooting display into a runaway 134-96 victory over the Houston Rockets Friday in the AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.
The 76ers (43-30) shot 60 percent prior to the intermission, including a robust 10 of 16 on 3-pointers, in cruising to a 24-point halftime lead. Harris paced four 76ers in double figures with 12 points and Embiid chipped in 11 while corralling all six of his boards for Philadelphia, which will open the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs Monday against the Boston Celtics (48-24).
The Rockets (44-28) closed the seeding games with three consecutive losses following a 4-1 start. Houston will be the fifth seed in the Western Conference and will open the playoffs against the Oklahoma City Thunder (44-28) on Tuesday. The Rockets will be without All-Star guard Russell Westbrook (quad), who played 11 seasons in Oklahoma City, for the start of the series.
James Harden recorded his 22nd double-double for the Rockets, posting game-highs in points (27) and assists (10). With a pair of free throws at the 5:39 mark of the first quarter, Harden passed Hall of Famer center Walt Bellamy (20,941 points) for 36th in NBA career scoring.
Jeff Green added 17 points while Eric Gordon, playing his second game after being sidelined to open the restart with an ankle sprain, tallied 13 points. In addition to Westbrook, the Rockets played without starting forward Danuel House Jr.
The 76ers closed the opening period with a 19-5 run after a Green basket gave the Rockets their final lead at 21-20 at the 4:22 mark. Furkan Korkmaz scored 10 first-quarter points on 3-of-3 shooting for the 76ers, who added a 13-0 run in the second quarter. When Gordon and Harden combined for a 9-0 run that pulled Houston to within 82-71 in the third, Harris drilled a 3-pointer to ignite a 21-4 run that served as the knockout blow and cleared both benches.
Alec Burks scored 16 off the bench for the 76ers. Al Horford had 10 points and four assists.
--Field Level Media