Joel Embiid was not about to let the Philadelphia 76ers suffer another big loss. After getting punked by the Celtics in a 48-point defeat in his previous game, the Cameroonian brought his best against the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks.
The Sixers needed every bit of Embiid’s monstrous output of 42 points, 14 rebounds and five assists. He was the key to victory down the stretch. When Philadelphia were staring at a 116-112 deficit with 3:35 left on the clock, Embiid assisted on a Georges Niang three that cut the deficit to 116-115, then make the go-ahead bucket to make it 117-116, and the Sixers never again relinquished the lead before winning 123-120.
Hell, Embiid even managed to make up for getting a three swatted in the Celtics game by making a stepback three against the Bucks.
A big win like that is exactly what Embiid and his team needed heading into the All-Star break. An uplifting win against a tough foe is something they’ll be happy about, since they can now look forward to the impending debut of James Harden.
At the break, Embiid is now league’s leading scorer. He’s averaging 29.6 points, 11.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists, a steal and 1.4 blocks while turning the ball over three times a game. His shooting splits of 49.5 / 36.9 / 81.3 also show that he’s capable of scoring from anywhere, making him one of the toughest players to guard due to his mix of skill and height.
He’s helped his team succeed, too, and the Sixers are now in third place in the Eastern Conference. If he keeps playing at this level, especially after Harden enters the fray, then I feel like he’s a strong lock for MVP this season. Some NBA legends certainly think so, including African great and former Sixer Dikembe Mutombo.
I can’t wait to see how Embiid and Harden gel on the court, and we won’t have to wait long to see it happen.