Joel Embiid has 34 points in 3 quarters, 76ers beat Rockets

Houston Rockets forward Kelly Olynyk, left, loses the ball in front of Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris (12) and center Joel Embiid, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, May 5, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke, Pool)
Houston Rockets forward Kelly Olynyk, left, loses the ball in front of Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris (12) and center Joel Embiid, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, May 5, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke, Pool) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – Joel Embiid had 34 points in just 25 minutes and the Philadelphia 76ers extended their winning streak to six games with a 135-115 victory over the short-handed Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.

The Eastern Conference leaders were up by double figures for most of the night and their starters barely had to play in the fourth quarter to keep the NBA’s longest active winning streak going. Houston, which has the NBA’s worst record at 16-50, lost its third straight and eighth in nine games.

Philadelphia also beat Houston in the first meeting this season to win the season series for the first time since 2010-11.

Wednesday was Philadelphia's third consecutive win away from home.

“That's one of the things we talked about, we have to win on the road and we're doing it," coach Doc Rivers said. “And we have to keep doing it."

The Rockets used a 7-2 run with a 3 from Kelly Olynyk to get within 12 with about six minutes left in the third quarter. But the Sixers used a 9-2 run, powered by six points from Embiid, to extend it to 97-78 two minutes later.

Embiid had 12 rebounds and made 14 of 16 free throws. It's the fifth time in seven games where he has played fewer than 26 minutes. He's glad for the rest, but knows he needs to be prepared to play much more with the postseason approaching.

“It’s good and bad," he said. “You don’t get the full conditioning that you need for the playoff run... you want to go to the playoffs upping your load. Just to make sure you’re used to it when you get there."