(CTN News) – Doc Rivers gave Joel Embiid a thumbs up after blistered Boston for his third 50-point game this season.
“We’re done with the MVP race,” Rivers said.
A case can be made for Nikola Jokic or Giannis Antetokounmpo.
However, Embiid won’t argue with his coach or Sixers teammates.
They may be right,” stated, “but we have bigger things in mind.”
As led Philadelphia to a 103-101 win over the Celtics, he strengthened his bid for the award.
Embiid made 20 of 25 shots and 12 of 13 free throws on his way to his ninth 40+/10 game of the season. As the only NBA center with three 50-point games in a season, Embiid joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain.
In November, Embiid scored 59 points against the Utah Jazz, and in December he scored 53 against Charlotte. As impressive as this effort was, considering the 76ers hadn’t beaten their East rivals this season.
We might see them in the second round if they end up the No. 2 seed, said.
At the horn, Jayson Tatum’s tying jumper fell short in a game that felt like a playoff.
Tucker turned a one-point deficit into a 101-95 lead by making three late 3-pointers for Embiid and the Sixers. 103-101, Derrick White buried a 3 with 2 seconds left, hushed the crowd chanting “MVP! MVP!”.
It’s the latest of late-game breakdowns.
Rivers said, “We really tried to get the game back.”
Despite that, they beat the Celtics for the first time this season. During the game, the All-Star center punctuated the victory with a vicious two-handed slam.
“He’s unstoppable when he gets going like that,” Tucker said.
A 20-point, 10-assist performance from James Harden.
Tatum scored 19 and White had 26. In the absence of Jaylen Brown, the team’s second-leading scorer, the Celtics fell to 9-4 this season.
Joe Mazzulla: “Our offense wasn’t elite tonight.” It puts pressure on your defense against great players like this.
As the chants rained down on him, Embiid played like a solo act. Embiid got the 50-point effort going from the start, making 6 of 7 from the field and 6 of 7 from the line for 18 points. Others missed 8 of 12 shots and didn’t try a free throw.
As the season winds down, the same pressing question looms for the Sixers as it did at the beginning: Who will step up to join Embiid and Harden in the playoffs?
With his string of threes, Tucker showed he could be an option, thanks to Embiid getting double-teamed.
We don’t win that game without PJ. Three huge corner 3s,” Embiid said.
If Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris, and some production off the bench don’t step up this season, the Sixers could be doomed to yet another 50-win season. Another early flameout this season could mean upheaval in Philly this offseason.
Following one of his best performances, Embiid shuffled off for the night in slippers, hoping that never becomes a concern.
“I think we’ve got a pretty good chance if we can correct a lot of our mistakes,” he said.