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The Rundown: Embiid goes down; Dragic and Kuzma deliver down the stretch

March 13, 2021, 2:48 PM ● Miguel Flores

Goran Dragic and Kyle Kuzma had a stellar fourth quarter to lead their respective teams to wins on Saturday. Unfortunately for the Sixers, though, Joel Embiid hyperextended his left knee.

Scoreboard

  • Pelicans 116, Cavaliers 82
  • 76ers 127, Wizards 101
  • Nuggets 103, Grizzlies 102
  • Heat 101, Bulls 90
  • Spurs 104, Magic 77
  • Jazz 114, Rockets 99
  • Lakers 105, Pacers 100

What went down

It was a close game in Chicago, until Goran Dragic happened.

 

Dragic scored all of his 25 points in the second half, including 20 in the fourth quarter to help the Miami Heat put away the Chicago Bulls. This season hasn't been kind to last year's runners-up with the injury bug hitting the top end of their lineup hard.

Today, Bam Adebayo missed his third straight game due to a knee injury. Still, Miami's depth has allowed them to stay afloat in the standings (currently fourth in the East at 20-18). They'll need more contributions from their other guys like Dragic to maintain hold of home court advantage in the playoffs.

Speaking of big time fourth-quarter explosions for an injury-riddled contender, Kyle Kuzma had himself a night.

 

Kuzma scored 15 of his 24 points in the final quarter to help the Los Angeles Lakers survive the Indiana Pacers. The Lakers will probably be without Anthony Davis for another two weeks. LeBron James will always have a good outing, but having the always-ready Kuzma fill in for injured stars has helped the Lakers immensely this season.

Perhaps the biggest development of the day was Joel Embiid going down late in a blowout win over the Washington Wizards. Initial diagnosis has the Philadelphia 76ers bigman out with a hyperextended left knee, but he'll still need an MRI when he gets back to Philly.

Losing Embiid for a long stretch could be a huge blow for the East-leading Sixers with the Brooklyn Nets hot on their heels in the standings. Embiid is having an MVP-caliber season with averages of 30.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.4 blocks.

Big-time baller

The Denver Nuggets needed another big night from their MVP candidate and Nikola Jokic delivered.

 

The Joker posted a routine monster line of 28 points on 13-for-22 shooting with 15 rebounds and seven assists. Jokic is the best player in fantasy and he could be the best in real life.

Did you see that?

We’re all for redemption stories in the NBA and Kevin Porter Jr. may have a compelling story in the works. After a tumultuous ending to his run with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Porter Jr. -- the 30th pick in the 2019 Draft -- was shipped to Houston for a second round pick. 

He had to earn a spot in the roster by performing in the G-League Bubble. With Houston severely short-handed, KPJ is making the most of his shot. 

 

In his first start for the Rockets, Porter Jr. hung 27 points, eight assists, a steal and two blocks in 38 minutes of play. He was tabbed as an athletic scoring specimen going into the league and he’s now finally in an environment where he can thrive.

What's in a number?

There are some career milestones that seem arbitrary, but Damian Lillard making a list with guys like LeBron James, Oscar Robertson, and Larry Bird.

 

The combination of 15,900 points and 4,000 assists may seem weird for a lot of us who are used to more rounded numbers. However, this list puts Lillard in great context. He was never highly-recruited in high school or college. Coming out of Weber State, Lillard had to prove himself as a lottery pick.

Now, he's one of the best athletes to come out of Oakland and probably the best Portland Trailblazer ever. Today truly is Dame's Time.