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Mobley makes late 3, Mitchell returns from injury as Cavaliers edge 76ers

Cleveland Cavaliers Philadelphia 76ers Evan Mobley Mo Bamba - The Canadian Press

CLEVELAND (AP) — Evan Mobley drained a go-ahead 3-pointer with 28.2 seconds left and Cleveland All-Star Donovan Mitchell — in his first game back from injury — made two late free throws as the Cavaliers edged the Philadelphia 76ers 117-114 on Friday night before hitting the road.

Georges Niang scored 25 points against his former Philly teammates and Mobley had 18 of his 20 in the second half as the Cavs, who struggled without Mitchell and won for just the second time in six games.

Darius Garland added 14 points and 12 assists for Cleveland, currently holding the No. 4 seed in the East.

The back-and-forth game featured 27 lead changes, seven in the fourth quarter.

Wearing a protective mask, Mitchell came back after missing six straight games and scored 12 in 32 minutes.

Kyle Lowry had 23 points and Tobias Harris 21 for the Sixers, who are hanging onto a play-in spot as they wait for superstar Joel Embiid to get healthy.

After the Sixers took a 113-112 lead when Tyrese Maxey tipped the ball away from Garland and scored on a layup, Mobley, who didn’t attempt a shot in the first half, hit a 3-pointer from the corner to put Cleveland up two.

The Cavs fouled Mo Bamba underneath, but with a chance to tie it, Philly’s big man split his free throws. The Sixers put Mitchell on the line and his two free throws with 12.8 seconds made it 117-114.

Philadelphia had one last chance to tie it, but Maxey missed a step-back 3 with 2.1 seconds left and the Sixers couldn’t corral the rebound.

Maxey finished just 7 of 26 from the floor, including 2 of 12 on 3s.

The Cavs have been aimless without Mitchell, who missed 15 of 20 games since the break with a bruised left knee and the nasal fracture. This was his first game since March 16 and he looked rusty.

While Cleveland welcomed back Mitchell, the Sixers are getting closer to having Embiid, who has been out since undergoing surgery to repair meniscus in his knee on Feb. 6. He has missed 28 games.

Embiid recently began on-court work and is traveling with the team. Coach Nick Nurse said the 7-footer is “progressing forward” and reiterated the expectation is that he’ll be back for the playoffs.

Nurse didn’t divulge any specifics about what Embiid is able to do at the moment, but added “he is at the point where he needs a few players out there to work against.”

Embiid looks anxious to play. During a timeout in the third quarter, the reigning league MVP, who sat on the bench in street clothes, borrowed the game ball and dribbled while both teams huddled.


76ers: At Denver on Sunday, the first of five straight road games.

Cavaliers: At Toronto on Sunday.