NEW YORK – The Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid and the San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard today were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Jan. 16 through Sunday, Jan. 22.
The 76ers were 3-0 with Embiid in the lineup (3-1 for the week) as the 22-year-old rookie center averaged 22.0 points, 10.3 rebounds (tied for sixth in the East) and an NBA-leading 3.67 blocks. He made 29 free throws to match the Chicago Bulls’ Jimmy Butler for the most in the East. Embiid posted two double-doubles to raise his season total to a rookie-best nine. He also tied a season high with five blocks against the Milwaukee Bucks on Jan. 16 and equaled a season high with five assists against the Portland Trail Blazers on Jan. 20.
Leonard led the Western Conference in scoring (36.3 ppg) and added 6.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists as the Spurs went 3-0. The 6-7 forward shot 56.5 percent from the field, 43.8 percent from three-point range and 96.0 percent from the free throw line. In a 118-115 overtime victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Jan. 21, Leonard notched a career-high 41 points. He has now scored at least 30 points in six consecutive games, the first Spurs player to accomplish the feat since Mike Mitchell during the 1985-86 season.
Here is a recap of the week for Embiid and Leonard:
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Jan. 16 @ Milwaukee: Tallied 22 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks in a 113-104 win over the Bucks.
Jan. 18 vs. Toronto: Scored 26 points in 27 minutes and added nine rebounds in a 94-89 win against the Raptors.
Jan. 20 vs. Portland: Finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four blocks in a 93-92 victory over the Trail Blazers.
Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
Jan. 17 vs. Minnesota: Shot 12-for-17 from the field on his way to 34 points in a 122-114 win over the Timberwolves.
Jan. 19 vs. Denver: Scored 34 points and added five rebounds and four assists in a 118-104 win over the Nuggets.
Jan. 21 @ Cleveland: Posted a career-high 41 points to go with six rebounds and five assists in a 118-115 overtime victory against the Cavaliers.
Other nominees for the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Dennis Schröder, Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, Charlotte’s Kemba Walker, Detroit’s Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris, Golden State’s Kevin Durant, Miami’s Goran Dragic, Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns, Phoenix’s Eric Bledsoe and Utah’s Rudy Gobert.