The 76ers remain undefeated at home.
In what was their stiffest test to date at the Wells Fargo Center, Joel Embiid had 41 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Sixers to a 122-113 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night.
The Sixers are 5-4, with all of their wins coming at home. This victory also marked their fourth straight win against the Clippers (4-4).
But it wasn't easy.
The Sixers blew a 22-point second-quarter lead, battled back from a four-point deficit, and held off several Los Angeles charges.
JJ Redick and Embiid halted the visitors' last comeback attempt.
The Clippers closed the gap to 112-109 after Danilo Gallinari's foul shots with 3 minutes, 5 seconds left. Redick responded with a three-pointer 37 seconds later to push the Sixers' lead up to six points. Embiid scored the next four points.
The All-Star center's cutting dunk with 1:39 to play made it 117-109. Then the crowd chanted "MVP … MVP … MVP" as Embiid made a foul shot with 1:14 remaining to provide a nine-point lead.
"I can create my own shot and I can get anything on the basketball court when I want to," Embiid said. "So it's about being aggressive and staying within a concept within the game, the system, and dominating. … That's what my teammates need me to do.
"When they need me to take over, I need to be there."
He was definitely there on this night.
This was his sixth time with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds this season. That's the most by an NBA player through the first nine games since Hall of Famer Karl Malone had six during the 1988-89 season. Embiid also had four blocks.
The Cameroonian also became the first Sixer to score 40-plus points at home since Hall of Famer Allen Iverson had 46 on Nov. 24, 2006, against the Chicago Bulls.
Dominating the low post, Embiid got the Clippers' top two centers, Marcin Gortat (four) and Montrezl Harrell (four), in foul trouble while scoring 24 points in the first half. Los Angeles ended up going with third-string center Boban Marjanovic.
"You could tell that he wanted to get off to a great start and set the tone," Redick said of Embiid's dominating the first nine games."I think he's certainly taken a big leap. I think for the most part his passing has been remarkable and his patience and poise out of the post has been better."
Redick added 18 points in a reserve role. Ben Simmons had 14 points, 11 assists, and just two turnovers two nights after committing a career-worst 11.
The Sixers had 16 turnovers after coming off a 23-turnover performance Tuesday night in a loss at the Toronto Raptors. Eight of their turnovers came in the first quarter of that game.
Philly showed improvement early on in that area, committing just three in the first 12 minutes of action. The Sixers also rode Embiid's 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting to take a 34-30 lead into the second quarter.
They opened the quarter with a 23-9 run to take a 57-39 advantage following Simmons' score on a running finger roll 6:27 before intermission. The Sixers extended the lead to 22 points (65-43) thanks to Landry Shamet's third three-pointer 2:14 later.
Los Angeles got back into the game in the third quarter thanks to 20 points by Gallinari (11) and Tobias Harris (nine). Gallinari's three-pointer with 3:34 left in the quarter capped a 16-2 run to give the Clippers an 84-80 advantage.
The Sixers responded with a reverse layup by Markelle Fultz, a four-point play by Mike Muscala, and a Fultz finger roll to lead 88-84 with 1:14 left in the quarter.
Fultz scored six of the Sixers' final 10 points of the quarter as they took a four-point advantage (90-86) into the fourth quarter.
The Sixers extended their lead to 11 points twice before the Clippers starting chipping away.
Fultz finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.