The Rundown: Spurs win three straight; Embiid fires 36 vs. Wizards

Published December 27, 2021, 1:00 PMMiguel Flores

The Spurs have won their third consecutive blowout game at the expense of the Pistons. Joel Embiid, meanwhile, carried the Sixers past the Wizards with a 36-13 double-double.


Heat 93, Magic 83

Cavaliers 144, Raptors 99

76ers 117, Wizards 96

Grizzlies 127, Kings 102

Thunder 117, Pelicans 112

Spurs 144, Pistons 109

Bulls 113, Pacers 105

Nuggets 103, Clippers 100

What went down

On the day after NBA Christmas, we got a mixed bag of a nine-game slate. It was mostly a mixed bag of blowouts, but there were a couple of notable performances in there.

The San Antonio Spurs, for one, won their third straight game via drubbing, dominating the Detroit Pistons by 35 points. The Spurs have won their last three games by an average margin of 29.5 points.

If the Pistons had a rough night, the depleted Toronto Raptors had quite the bender, losing by 45 points to the Cleveland Cavaliers. In Washington, it didn’t get much better for the Wizards, who watched Joel Embiid go to town (more on this later) and dropped to the Philadelphia 76ers by 21 points.

It looked like the Los Angeles Clippers were in for the same fate in the final game of the day, but they managed to rally against the Denver Nuggets. The visiting Nuggets shot 52 percent in the first half and sprinted to a 17-point lead in the third quarter.

Behind Eric Bledsoe, the Clippers turned up the defense and made a huge run into the fourth quarter, grabbing a 91-82 lead with nine minutes remaining in the game. Nikola Jokic slowly chipped away at the lead, sparking the Nuggets’ late run with his post play and passing. Denver finished the game on a 21-9 run and picked up the win.

Jokic gathered 26 points, 22 rebounds, eight assists, two steals, and two blocks. He and LaMelo Ball are the only two players in the league to lead their team in points, rebounds, assists, and steals.

The Clippers, on the other hand, sorely missed having a superstar today. Having both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard shelved due to injuries has been an unfortunate turn for what should have been a solid Clipper squad.

Big-time baller

Joel Embiid had his way with the Wizards’ frontline, hanging 36 points on 12-for-17 shooting from the field with 13 rebounds, two blocks, and a steal on the road.

Embiid started the season in a bit of a shooting slump. He has been on fire this month as the Sixers try to regain footing at the top of the East.

What he said

When the Chicago Bulls had 10 players out due to health and safety protocols around the second week of this month, Lonzo Ball was one of the lucky few that evaded mandatory quarantine.

Until today when it was announced that it was his turn to miss some games. Luckily, the Bulls have most of their roster back to pick up the slack.

Did you see that?

Josh Giddey wasn’t quite “big-time baller” status today, but he did put up a very interesting line. The Australian rookie missed all eight of his shot attempts and scored zero points, but still managed to help the Thunder win over the Pelicans with 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

In Miami, Jimmy Butler returned. The Heat were still shorthanded, especially at center with Bam Adebayo and Dewayne Dedmon both out due to injuries. The OG Udonis Haslem had to pick up some quality minutes as backup center. Haslem finished with eight points and six rebounds in the Heat’s wire-to-wire win over the Orlando Magic.