PHILADELPHIA (AP) Joel Embiid had 22 points, including four late free throws, to lead the Philadelphia 76ers over the Miami Heat 101-94 on Monday night.
Hassan Whiteside set a career high with 32 points while reaching double digits in rebounds for the 13th consecutive game to start the season. Whiteside, who entered leading the NBA with 16.2 boards per game, finished with 13.
The game featured a matchup between Whiteside and Embiid, two of the top big men in the Eastern Conference. Neither disappointed.
Embiid has made an early case for Rookie of the Year despite missing two seasons with a foot injury. He set a career high with 26 points in Philadelphia’s 120-105 win over Phoenix on Saturday night and followed it with yet another strong game.
He was serenaded with chants of “MVP! MVP!” late in the game from the home crowd, which hasn’t had much to cheer about in the last few seasons during Philadelphia’s rebuilding process. But Embiid has given Sixers fans reason to hope.
He came up big again Monday, especially down the stretch.
The teams were close throughout the second half. Henderson’s corner 3-pointer gave Philadelphia an 85-80 cushion with 8:16 remaining. Whiteside re-entered shortly after that shot and helped Miami tie it at 89 with 4:43 left on a tip-in.
Philadelphia responded with nine of the next 11 points, capped by Embiid’s two free throws with 2:27 left that gave the 76ers their biggest lead to that point, 98-91.
Robert Covington also came up big during the run, scoring on a reverse layup and a 3-pointer.
Covington was booed upon entering the game in the fourth quarter due to his recent shooting struggles. He entered having missed 27 of his last 31 shots and finished 4 for 13 against Miami.
Heat: Shaquille O’Neal’s No. 32 jersey will be retired by Miami on Dec. 22 during a ceremony at halftime against the Los Angeles Lakers. . F Willie Reed (knee) didn’t play after leaving Saturday’s game at Washington.
76ers: Offseason acquisition Jerryd Bayless made his season debut for Philadelphia and scored four points in 16 minutes. Bayless missed the first 13 games with a left wrist injury.
Heat: At the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.
76ers: Host the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night.
This story has been corrected to reflect that Embiid had a foot injury, not a knee injury.