Quotebook | Embiid Huge Against Hawks
Joel Embiid was spectacular in the 76ers’ (36-22) 129-112 win over the Atlanta Hawks (17-42) Monday at The Center.
Scoring a career-high 49 points, to go with 14 rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block, the big man converted 17 of his 24 field goal attempts, and shot a near-perfect 14-for-15 from the foul stripe.
Postgame, there was plenty of talk about the All-Star. Here’s some of what was said…
Brett Brown was proud of Embiid’s holistic game, and gave him props for adapting:
“He was dominant. He was dominant making his free throws. He was dominant as an interior presence. Scoring that volume of points at that efficient of a rate is impressive. I thought the thing that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet that he did as well as anything was that he handled the double teams. Whether he passed out of it because there was a crowd, whether he went quick because the double teams were coming and he didn’t get involved in that. I thought he handled the double teams really well.”
In the fourth quarter, Embiid fired back for 22 points. In the absence of Ben Simmons (back), Brown expressed his appreciation for Embiid’s relentless effort and sharp mindset:
“With the news of Ben and him not being there, it’s clear to him that he’s gotta come out. He’s gotta play like he did tonight, for the most part. His mentality is what most impressed me. We saw the same thing against Brooklyn. We’re all going to point to the numbers. The bottom line is this: when he comes out with that activity, that energy, that mentality, he makes a statistician work and we will win a lot of games.”
Embiid himself reiterated that his mindset has changed of late. Monday night was no exception.
“I said it right before All-Star break that I was going to have a different mindset and it wasn’t just about tonight. Since the Clippers game, I’ve had the mindset of just being aggressive just trying to dominate offensively and defensively. I said I was going to get back to having fun, but having fun comes in different forms. I don’t always have to be smiling or laughing all the time. I can have fun just dominating the game. Obviously, tonight was just one of those nights where I was having fun like the old days, just having fun with the crowd. Some nights, I just want to dominate and stay quiet, but it was cool. Most important thing is that we bounced back and we got the win.”
Listen to a recap of Joel Embiid's career performance on the 76ers Podcast Network
After a tough loss to the Bucks in Milwaukee Saturday, Embiid added that perseverance and staying cool through the ebbs and flows of the season will be key as the home stretchn progresses.
“We can’t get too high and we can’t get too low. Like I always say, you’re going to make shots some nights, you’re going to miss them some nights. Tonight, I did make some. The other night, bad night to go cold, but I missed some, so it was a bad game. Tonight, I had a better game, so I’m just going to keep being steady and just keep trying to gradually get better. We play again in two nights, so we move on. Everybody’s going to forget about tonight. The other night, we moved on and we’ve got to get another win.”
Tobias Harris, who had another impressive outing himself (25 pts, 6 reb, 4 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk), applauded Embiid’s big night too:
“I think you saw him go out there tonight and impose his will…I just think he did a really good job of picking the game apart from the beginning. He saw the double-team and kicked it out really fast a couple of times and adjusted to how they were sending the double-teams. He went quick on a lot of his post-ups, and he kind of really picked the game apart from the low block and found a lot of different ways to get going tonight. He was dominant.”
Across the hall in Hawks’ territory, former Sixer assistant and current Hawks Head Coach Lloyd Pierce discussed Embiid’s growth since their time together in Philadelphia:
“He’s just a smarter player. He knows how to attack against a double team a little bit better. He’s low with the duck-ins, he’s using his size and his physicality a lot more, and tonight he was really tough on the offensive glass, just cleaning up a lot of missed shots, especially when we were scrambling and rotating.”
The Sixers head to Cleveland Tuesday for the first night of a back-to-back on Wednesday. Wednesday’s contest tips at 7:00 p.m. ET.