Sixers edge Nuggets to halt four-game losing streak
DENVER -- Joel Embiid scored 23 points, Ersan Ilyasova had 23 points and 13 rebounds and the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Denver Nuggets 124-122 on Friday night.
T.J. McConnell tied a career high with 17 points and also had eight assists for the Sixers, who escaped at the end to stop a four-game skid.
Nikola Jokic led Denver with 25 points and Emmanuel Mudiay had 22. Danilo Gallinari finished with 18 points.
Philadelphia was down to nine available players and McConnell as its lone point guard while playing on the second night of a back-to-back.
Embiid sat out Thursday's loss at Utah and looked fresh against the Nuggets.
The Sixers led most of the first half, but the Nuggets made a run at the end of the second quarter to go into halftime tied. Mudiay had six points as Denver outscored Philadelphia 12-2 in the final 2:25.
The lead changed hands several times in the third quarter and Philadelphia took a 91-87 lead into the fourth.
Denver came back to tie it at 99 with 7:12 left, but Philadelphia used a 13-3 run to take a 112-102 lead, matching its biggest of the night.
The Nuggets rallied to get back within one on Wilson Chandler's jumper in the lane with 1:43 left, but McConnell hit a corner 3-pointer to put the Sixers ahead 117-113.
Four straight free throws by the Nuggets tied it at 117 with 49 seconds left.
Embiid split two foul shots with 31.5 seconds left to give Philadelphia a one-point lead. Jokic took a feed from Gallinari underneath at the other end, and as he rose up to give Denver the lead, Embiid stripped him.
The Sixers got the ball and Embiid hit two more free throws.
Gallinari's dunk made it 120-119 with 10 seconds left and Denver fouled Robert Covington, who hit both free throws.
Manuel was fouled, made the first one and intentionally missed the second, but Embiid got the rebound and hit two free throws.
Denver's last gasp came when Jokic was fouled on a 3-point attempt. He made the first two, intentionally missed the third, and Denver couldn't convert its two chances to tie it as the clock ran out.
NOTES: The 76ers had nine players available for Friday. Sergio Rodriguez sprained his left ankle against Utah on Thursday, Gerald Henderson missed his second straight game with left hip soreness, Richaun Holmes is in the concussion protocol and Jahlil Okafor was dressed and available. But coach Brett Brown tried to avoid using Okafor because of left hamstring soreness. ... Nuggets C Jusuf Nurkic expressed frustration at his playing time of late, which didn't bother coach Michael Malone. "I have no problem with that," he said. "Nurk's been great and he's staying ready." ... The Sixers used their 14th starting lineup against the Nuggets.