On Monday, Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers was named NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week after averaging 40.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 2.8 blocks per game across four contests.
There have been more than 200 shows featuring this man in that building. No. 209, specifically, was one for the ages.
Home or away, Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid has never scored as many points as the 59 he poured in Sunday against the Utah Jazz, nor has any NBA player ever produced a final stat line comparable to the one printed next to Embiid’s name.
Fifty-nine points, 11 rebounds, eight assists, one steal, and seven blocked shots.
“It’s a show,” teammate De’Anthony Melton said.
Talk about an encore.
Just 24 hours earlier, Embiid tallied 42 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks in a win over Atlanta.
Embiid delivering 26 of his team’s 27 points in the fourth quarter to secure the win on Sunday resembled a pitcher striking out the side in the ninth inning of a complete game — while remarkably increasing pitch velocity along the way.
“At halftime, I just tried to still be aggressive,” Embiid said. “When you have the ball in your hands and you try to be a playmaker or try to score the ball, you're going to turn the ball over. I had a couple turnovers, so in the second half I just wanted to make sure I didn't speed myself and take whatever the defense gives me. I'm just happy about that. Defensively, since I've been back, I feel like I've been playing on another level.”
Embiid (who missed three games recently with the flu) and the Sixers now hold the NBA’s fifth-rated defense.
76ers Head Coach Doc Rivers has participated in more than 2,600 NBA games as a player and coach. What he saw from the seven-foot big man in the No. 21 City Edition uniform against the Jazz stands out, to say the least.
“I’ve seen guys score a lot of points,'' Rivers said of Embiid’s performance. “I haven’t seen guys score a lot of points, rebound, and then the blocked shots. That was impressive. He was getting everything. I’ve never seen a more dominating performance when you look at both offense and defense.”
In 37 minutes of action, Embiid shot 19-for-28 from the field and 20-for-24 from the foul line. If he had connected on what would have been his second 3-pointer with 23.5 seconds left, a patented Embiid celebration with fans was likely to follow. It was the only field-goal attempt he missed during his 26-point, five-block fourth quarter (7-8). But it was still a party.
The roars got louder with each and every basket or blocked shot that pushed the Sixers to victory. Those in attendance witnessed the type of pure dominance typically reserved for the virtual hardwood.
“All my friends were texting me after the game and they were like, ‘It’s a 2K stat line,’” Matisse Thybulle said. “Like, it’s not one of those things you see in a real basketball game. It’s like when you pick one player on 2K and decide to do everything with him.”
“Joel Embiid is very good at basketball,” Tyrese Maxey added. “There’s nothing I can really say about it. He’s just really good at basketball.”
Embiid’s young son, Arthur, will someday learn more about the feats of his very-good-at-basketball father.
“It's going to be fun,” the 28-year-old Embiid said. “I can't wait for when he actually starts to understand in a couple years [and we're] talking about my career. Watching these types of games and talking about –
“I'll actually tell him that I had a 60-point quadruple-double on this night.”
After a career night, Embiid is rewriting history in more ways than one.