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Embiid’s 50 points propel Sixers over Knicks, Magic rout Cavs

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LOS ANGELES: Philadelphia big man Joel Embiid scored 50 points to power the 76ers to a vital 125-114 victory over the New York Knicks on Thursday (Apr 26), the Sixers clawing back a game in their NBA Eastern Conference playoff series.

The 76ers had dropped the first two games of their best-of-seven first-round series at Madison Square Garden, Embiid defiantly insisting they were the “better team” and would right the ship at home.

He made sure they did, and the Orlando Magic also bounced back in a big way after going 0-2 down against the Cavaliers in Cleveland, routing the Cavs 121-83 to trim their series deficit to one game.

Embiid posted a career playoff high, connecting on 13 of 19 shots including five of seven from three-point range.

He made seven of eight attempts on the way to 18 points in the third quarter, when the Sixers erased a three-point halftime deficit and pushed their lead to 13 going into the fourth.

Embiid added eight rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot and was assessed a flagrant foul for pulling Mitchell Robinson to the court by the ankle in the first quarter – moments after Embiid had been sent crashing by Knicks forward OG Anunoby.

Jalen Brunson led the Knicks with 39 points and 13 assists. Josh Hart scored 20 points but game two hero Donte DiVincenzo had just five and the 76ers will have a chance to level the series on Sunday.

In Orlando, Paolo Banchero scored 31 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as the Magic clawed back to 2-1 after dropping the first two games of the Eastern Conference series in Cleveland.

The 38-point win marked the third-largest margin of victory in a playoff game in Magic history – and their first home playoff win since a 2011 first-round win over Atlanta.

AGGRESSIVE BANCHERO

“I just wanted to come out and be aggressive,” Banchero said. “Going down 3-0 is a lot different than being down 2-1. So (I) knew we had to get this game – and we’ve got to do it again on Saturday.”

Jalen Suggs added 24 points and Franz Wagner finished with 16 for the Magic, who handed the Cavs their most lopsided playoff defeat ever.

Jarrett Allen led the Cavs with 15 points and Donovan Mitchell added 13, but Cleveland connected on just 39 per cent of their shots from the field.

After cruising to two straight wins in Cleveland, the Cavs looked set for more when they opened the game with a 6-0 run.

But Orlando took their first lead of the entire series midway through the first quarter on a three-pointer by Banchero and by the end of the period were up 31-21.

With the game out of hand both teams rested their starters in the fourth.

The Magic will try to level the series at home on Saturday before they return to Cleveland for game five.

In the final game of the night, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers hosted Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets, the Lakers hoping a move to their home floor would signal a change of fortunes against the reigning champions, who won the first two games of their Western Conference series in Denver.

The Lakers had led by 20 points in the third quarter of game two on Monday, but Jamal Murray drained a buzzer-beating game-winner in a crushing 101-99 victory.

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