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Harden, Embiid have double-doubles, 76ers rout Clippers

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Even after seeing James Harden and Joel Embiid record double-doubles in a convincing 25-point win over the Los Angeles Clippers yesterday, Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers doesn’t think his team is at its best yet.

That should be bad news for the rest of the Eastern Conference.

Harden had 29 points and a season-high 15 rebounds while Embiid added 27 points and 10 boards as the Sixers’ rolled to a 122-97 victory.

“We’re getting better. The one-two has to be there first. It is. The rest will follow,” Rivers said after Philadelphia (46-27) won its third straight to pull within a half game of the Miami Heat for first place in the Eastern Conference.

It is the first time since Harden was acquired from the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster trade on February 10 that the two All-Stars have had a double-double in the same game for the Sixers.

Philadelphia 76ers James Harden dribbles the ball against Los Angeles Clippers Nicolas Batum. PHOTO: AFP

Although the Sixers are streaking going into a key clash tonight against the Phoenix Suns, who have clinched the league’s best record, Harden agreed that things remain a work in progress with less than a month remaining until the playoffs.

“Things are headed in the right direction, but every single day we are focussing on execution and details,” said Harden, who is averaging 23 points and 7.6 rebounds since coming to Philadelphia. “There are going to be different ways we are going to have to win in the playoffs, and we have to be prepared for that.”

Harden had a monster first and second quarter, posting 25 points and 11 rebounds. It is the first time in his 12-year career he has done that in a half.

Harden and the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James are the only players in the league to have a double-double in a half in which they scored at least 25 points. “When shots are going in, it makes it better. Tonight was one of those nights where I felt good, we got out to a big lead and the wave continued the entire game,” Harden said.

It is Embiid’s 38th double-double, which is tied for seventh in the league. He also had two blocks and a steal on what was a great defensive night for the Sixers, who blocked eight shots and forced 12 steals.

“We were in synch and focussed. We played physical. We were all over them,” Embiid said.

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