Big Ovation, Big Day for Embiid in NBA Africa Game 2018

by Brian Seltzer
Sixers.com Reporter

Joel Embiid understandably, and deservedly, received one of the biggest ovations - if not the loudest of all - during player introductions at the third annual NBA Africa Game.

The 24-year old Cameroonian then proceeded to deliver one of the biggest performances of the day, entertaining Saturday’s sold out crowd at Sun Arena at Time Square in Pretoria, South Africa with a box line that featured a game-best 24 points. 

Embiid served as co-captain for Team Africa, which dropped a 96-92 decision to Team World. In 28 minutes, he hit 9 of 18 field goal attempts. Five of his misses came from outside the arc.

He also paced Team Africa with eight rebounds, and four assists.

Given that Saturday’s game was an exhibition, in the middle of the summer, and was Embiid’s first live action in nearly three months, the following observations should probably all be taken with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, they’re still worth noting.

With his first fully healthy off-season as a pro beginning to wind down, Embiid - more than anything else - looked good physically in Saturday’s outing, and seemed pretty spry and quick on his feet.

The big man’s floor-running was rewarded with strong interior finishes, whether they were lay-ups or dunks. And while he came up empty from behind the 3-point arc, Embiid’s handle - another one of his primary focal points this summer - had some impressive moments, to say the least.

He dished out three dimes in Saturday’s first quarter, then unleashed this ridiculous move in the third period.

After being forced to sit out last year’s NBA Africa Game due to injury, Embiid appeared to relish last week’s experience.

In what was a competitive match-up, Team Africa found itself chasing Team World throughout most of Saturday’s game. Embiid came through with a clutch and-1 that cut the deficit to three with just over a minute remaining in regulation, but the World squad hung on in the closing seconds.