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Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Denver Nuggets 126-121 in a showdown between the last two league MVPs

The two best players in the NBA over the past three years faced off in Philadelphia on Tuesday night and it was the reigning MVP, Joel Embiid, who came out on top.

Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers defeated Nikola Jokić – NBA MVP in 2021 and 2022 – and the Denver Nuggets, winning 126-121 behind Embiid’s 41 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds.

Jokić scored 25 points for the Nuggets and grabbed 19 rebounds, but that wasn’t enough to beat the Sixers, who have now won three in a row.

It was the second straight time Embiid scored more than 40 points after leading against the Houston Rockets on Monday, while teammate Tyrese Maxey added 25 points and nine assists against the defending NBA champions.

After the match, Embiid and Jokić exchanged some warm words on the pitch, with the former calling his opponent the best player in the league.

Embiid continued his incredible scoring streak against the Nuggets.  -Matt Slocum/APEmbiid continued his incredible scoring streak against the Nuggets.  -Matt Slocum/AP

Embiid continued his incredible scoring streak against the Nuggets. -Matt Slocum/AP

“He won a championship, that’s the best team in the league and he’s the Finals MVP,” Embiid said in an on-court interview. ‘I just told him: carry on and see you in two weeks. Keep doing your thing and that’s why you’re the best in the league.”

In a close, entertaining game, the teams were tied 78-78 at halftime before the Nuggets took the lead and held a 104-99 lead by the end of the third quarter.

But the 76ers finished strong, thanks in large part to Embiid’s 10 straight points midway through the fourth. It was the 18th game in a row that the center scored at least 30 points.

“This was a game that went down to the wire,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said, according to ESPN. “We fell short. Joël is an amazing talent.”

The 76ers, third in the Eastern Conference, face the Orlando Magic on Friday, while the Nuggets, third in the Western Conference, face the Boston Celtics.

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