For the first time this season, the Philadelphia 76ers found a path to victory without Joel Embiid by defeating the host Indiana Pacers 119-110 on Sunday night.
Tobias Harris finished with 27 points and eight rebounds and Ben Simmons had 21 points, six rebounds and seven assists to help the Sixers erase a 20-point second-half deficit and win their third consecutive game.
The Sixers outscored the Pacers, who dropped their second consecutive game, 37-15 in the fourth quarter.
Philadelphia had gone 0-4 in games where Embiid didn’t play. Embiid played through his back issue on Friday in a 118-94 win over Minnesota, scoring 37 points and finishing with 11 rebounds and three assists in 27 minutes.
Philadelphia switched to a 2-3 zone on defense in the fourth quarter, which frustrated Pacers shooters during a scoring drought that lasted four minutes and 27 seconds until Myles Turner hit a pair of free throws.
Trailing by 16 points in the fourth, the Sixers used a 21-2 run to come back, taking the lead on a jumper by Furkan Korkmaz with 2:30 left.
Philadelphia started Tony Bradley in Embiid’s place with Dwight Howard rotating in off the bench as he has this season.
The Sixers outrebounded the Pacers 44-41 and were only outscored in the paint 60-56 despite Embiid’s absence. Turner was held to only nine points, with six of those coming on free throws.
Korkmaz scored 17 points and Howard finished with 11 points and 15 rebounds as the Sixers bench outscored the Pacers’ reserves 54-37.
Malcolm Brogdon led the Pacers with 25 points on 10-for-21 shooting and Damontas Sabonis totaled 21 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Jeremy Lamb finished with 12 points.
Doug McDermott (lower back) did not start, but returned to the Pacers’ rotation and finished with eight points and five rebounds in 21 minutes. Aaron Holiday led Indiana’s bench with 17 points.