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Without Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers lose to Pelicans as Williamson scores 33

Digital Brief: Nov. 29, 2023 (AM)
Digital Brief: Nov. 29, 2023 (AM) 02:21

Zion Williamson scored 33 points and the New Orleans Pelicans took a 124-114 victory over a Philadelphia 76ers squad playing without reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid on Wednesday night.

Embiid was ruled out shortly before tip-off because of an illness, forcing Philadelphia to manage without its leading scorer, who is averaging 32 points this season and also gives the Sixers a formidable defensive presence in the paint.

Williamson cashed in on the 7-foot Embiid's absence, dominating around the basket as he made 11 of his 12 shots. He also hit 11 of 12 free throws, grabbed eight rebounds and added six assists. That production gave Williamson at least 26 points and five assists in each of his past six games.

New Orleans, meanwhile, got a key player back. Veteran guard CJ McCollum returned from a partially collapsed lung that had sidelined him for 12 games. McCollum scored 20 points in 28 minutes, including a basket in the final minutes to help put away the game.

Jonas Valanciunas scored 19, Jordan Hawkins added 16 and Brandon Ingram had 15 for the Pelicans, who snapped a two-game skid.

Tyrese Maxey scored 33 points and De'Anthony Melton added 17 for the 76ers, who never led and trailed by as many as 16 points in the first quarter. New Orleans took its largest lead at 29 points when Herb Jones' layup made it 94-65 with 4:18 remaining in the third quarter.

The Sixers made a run with mostly reserves on the floor, cutting it to 16 before coach Nick Nurse choose to put several starters back in for the final minutes, compelling Pelicans coach Willie Green to do the same.

The game got as tight as 118-110 when Maxey set up Paul Reed for a short hook with 1:47 left. But McCollum responded by hitting a running floater, Valanciunas added a dunk and Williamson hit a layup as New Orleans pulled away again.


76ers: Visit Boston on Friday night.

Pelicans: Host San Antonio on Friday night.

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