LOS ANGELES (AP) The 76ers had their eyes on the future Monday night, and it certainly looked bright.
Their present wasn’t too bad, either.
Philadelphia has several talented young players and three of them – center Joel Embiid, forward Robert Covington and guard Ben Simmons – had it all working in a 109-105 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Embiid put up 32 points and 16 rebounds in a career-high 36 minutes and had his way with Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, a defensive standout.
Robert Covington added 31 points, including a key 3-pointer that gave the Sixers the lead for good with 33 seconds remaining. Ben Simmons had 22 points and 12 rebounds.
The 23-year-old Embiid and 21-year-old Simmons dominated for much of the night.
”They’re two of the best players in the league already,” Sixers guard JJ Redick said. ”They’re both MVP-caliber players. They’re fantastic and we’re all along for the ride.”
The Clippers lost their sixth straight despite getting 31 points off the bench from Lou Williams. Blake Griffin added 29 but failed to score in the fourth quarter, going 0 for 4.
Los Angeles rallied from a 14-point deficit to lead by five with 2:11 to play, but the Sixers made all the key plays down the stretch.
”We took bad shots,” Griffin said. ”I took bad shots. We got stagnant and just didn’t trust our offense.”
Simmons made all three of his shots for nine points in the fourth quarter and had four rebounds.
”He’s a difference-maker,” said Sixers coach Brett Brown. ”He is a game-changer at a 6-10 point guard position. Some of his passes tonight, some of his finishes tonight, some of his loose balls and 50-50 balls – he’s different.
”The thing I like the most and get excited the most is, he’s barely scratched the surface. He has so much more to give and to improve on and knowledge to take in.”
Embiid fouled out Jordan and his backup, Willie Reed. The 76ers’ big man went to the line 16 times.
”That reflects a mentality way more than a statistic,” Brown said. ”And his mentality tonight was dominant.
”I think there’s more to give, even more dominance.”
The Sixers outrebounded Los Angeles 51-34, helping them to overcome 20 turnovers.
After a 4-0 start, the Clippers have lost eight of nine. Asked when the losing streak starts to become a concern, Griffin said: ”With the first one.”
Said coach Doc Rivers: ”Every loss concerns me, but I like this team. We just have to get right.”
It was the first game back at Staples Center for Redick, where he played the past four seasons for the Clippers. They gave him a video tribute during a timeout in the first quarter.
”I really didn’t see it,” he said. ”We were talking in the huddle. I just tried to stay in the moment. . I’ll take a look at it later. It was obviously very touching.”
76ers: Injuries to Markelle Fultz, Jerryd Bayless and Nik Stauskas have made it difficult for Philadelphia to sustain an early rhythm, and players are going to have to get into shape during the season. Said Brown: ”This is not a normal pathway to bring somebody back, but that’s the best we can do.” … Philadelphia also was without Jahlil Okafor (respiratory infection).
Clippers: Have also struggled with an abnormal amount of early injuries. Los Angeles continues to play without its starting backcourt (Patrick Beverley, Milos Teodosic) as well as starting forward Danilo Gallinari. Teodosic began the season as the replacement for departed point guard Chris Paul but injured his plantar fascia in the second game and has no specific return date.
76ers: Return home Saturday to play the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
Clippers: Start a five-game road trip Friday in Cleveland.
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