Thursday, June 8, 2023
HomeSPORTSJoel Embiid leads 76ers past C's as Doc Rivers declares MVP race...

Joel Embiid leads 76ers past C’s as Doc Rivers declares MVP race ‘over’ sports

Tim BontempsESPN1:06 a.m. Eastern Time4 minute read

PHILADELPHIA — After watching Joel Embiid dismantle the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night, Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers was sure of only one thing.

“We did so many things wrong,” Rivers said, “but what we did right was Joel Embiid.

“The race for MVP is over.”

There are still five days left in the NBA regular season. But after watching Embiid surgically shred the Celtics, finishing with 52 points on a ridiculous 20-of-25 shooting performance in a 103-101 Philadelphia win, it’s hard to blame Rivers for getting a little ahead of himself.

“Joel should win it,” said James Harden, who had 20 points and 10 assists in 40 minutes. “He’s been in contention for that the last few years. He led the league in scoring last year. It looks like he’s going to lead the league in scoring this year. We’re the third seed in the East. He’s been consistent all year.” .”

Embiid was constantly on fire for every 38 minutes and 37 seconds he was on the court, doing what he wanted against a Celtics team that came into Tuesday night’s contest having won the first three meetings between the teams and has consistently had the 76ers. ‘ number in recent years.

But on Tuesday, they had no answer for Embiid’s domain.

“I think the whole league is trying to figure that out right now,” Derrick White said when asked how to stop Embiid. “So if you have any ideas, I think every other team in the NBA would like to know.”

With these teams likely to meet in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Celtics would love more ideas, although having Jaylen Brown (back) and Robert Williams III (knee) on the court will help.

Embiid’s night was one for the history books, as he became the first player in the shot clock era to score more than half his team’s points and shoot 80% from the field, while also joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only players to record at least 50 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists while shooting 80% from the field.

And Embiid did it while getting a lot of attention. According to ESPN Stats & Information player-tracking metrics, Embiid was double-teamed 13 times, and Philadelphia shot 9-for-11 and scored 23 points on those possessions. Meanwhile, Embiid went a ludicrous 10-for-13 on contested field goal attempts.

“When he gets like that, nobody can stop him,” said PJ Tucker, who hit three massive 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to help Philadelphia close out the game.

Boston certainly couldn’t stop it Tuesday night when Embiid, on national television, no less, delivered a rather dramatic closing argument in an MVP race that, as laid out in the latest ESPN poll last week, is the closest between Embiid and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic as anyone in NBA history.

When Embiid was asked about Rivers and Harden’s comments, he couldn’t help but smile.

“They’re probably right,” Embiid said from the podium, drawing laughter from the room. “But we have bigger goals.”

Those bigger goals, of course, are advancing past the second round of the playoffs, something Embiid has never done in his NBA career and something that will surely require beating Boston in four of seven games next month.

That’s why Embiid focused on the way Philadelphia almost allowed Boston to pull off what would have been an absolutely incredible comeback from down seven points with less than 10 seconds to go, one that came on a Jayson Tatum jumper in the buzzer away to send the game into overtime.

“We understand we have a chance,” Embiid said, “but it’s not going to be easy. Tonight, for me, was a little bit disappointing because we found a lot of ways to lose the game and that’s up to all of us.”

“I’m part of that. It could have been better. You know, I had a couple of dumb plays… It could have been better and we could have been better as a team. Like I said, we have bigger goals in mind, but we have to be better. than that”.

Even beyond the late-game collapse, there were plenty of problems for the 76ers. Tyrese Maxey’s season-long struggles against Boston continued, as he finished the game 2-for-8 from the field with a turnover compared to four assists, and is now 9-for-32 in his last three games against the Celtics. .

As a team, the 76ers not named Embiid shot a combined 19-of-53 (35.8%), a number that drops to 15-of-49 (30.6%) when you take the performance of 4 out of the equation. Tucker’s 5. .

The 76ers allowed Boston to grab 13 offensive rebounds, resulting in 13 more shots, and were unable to create any separation in a game that Brown and Williams missed.

Ultimately, though, it didn’t matter, thanks to an iconic performance from Embiid. And, as he and the 76ers look ahead to what feels like an inevitable playoff matchup, the ugly nature of the win didn’t take away from the satisfaction of avoiding a season sweep at the hands of one of Philadelphia’s biggest rivals.

“I mean we struggled against them this year, obviously down 0-3,” Embiid said. “So tonight was sorely needed. A win is a win. It doesn’t matter what we did wrong out there. You know, like I said, we found ways to basically lose that game, but a win is a win, especially going into the playoffs AND if they end up with the No. 2 seed, we could see them in the second round, if we get there.

“You have to be ready for every scenario. I just wanted to see where we are, where I am and where we are as a team. I think you know, if we could right a lot of the mistakes we made.” done, we have a very good chance.”



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments