SACRAMENTO: drinking over Shirley's temples and dominating the Eastern Conference, that's how Joel Embiid rolls. The talented 24-year-old center is in Sacramento for a night clash with the Kings.
There will not be a recreation of the Embatido incident, DeMarcus Cousins. Those days already happened in Sacramento, but someone will have to reduce the speed of the All-Star Game or the Kings will have many problems.
Willie Cauley-Stein will try soon and has had some success against Embiid in the past. In his only game of last season, the great star of Philly scored 22 points in 7 of 20 shots with 15 rebounds and two assists. But with the game on the line, it was Cauley-Stein who was clinging.
"Resilient," Cauley-Stein said about how he approaches the battle with Embiid. "When I play against guys like that, that [are] A load, [I am] it just always comes. I feel like guys who play so aggressively, they're waiting for you to fall, they're waiting for you to just give up. "
In the last 1:13 of the game, Cauley-Stein blocked Embiid twice in the paint, once in a tray attempt and the second time in a hook shot with Sacramento losing 108-107 with 25 remaining tics.
After De'Aaron Fox drilled a jumper to give the Kings a 109-108 lead, Cauley-Stein once again devised a defensive stop against Embiid in a jumper to seal the Sacramento victory.
Embiid looks like a different player this season. He has an average of 27.2 points, 13.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists and 1.9 blocks in 33.4 minutes per game. In addition, he played in 48 of the Sixers' 52 games, which is surprising considering that he played in a total of 94 games in his first four seasons in the NBA.
"He has some movements and his footwork is really great," Cauley-Stein said. "He plays with a lot of power at the top and his base is so strong that you can not let him get to that place, if you let him get to that place, it's over."
On Friday, Embiid was named Eastern Conference Player of the Month and is coming off a 26-point, 20-rebound performance in Philadelphia's win over the Warriors. Cauley-Stein, as well as Harry Giles and perhaps even Kosta Koufos will have their hands full.
To prevent Embiid from having a night of monsters, Cauley-Stein has to do his job early and he must keep it out of the glass.
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Easier said than done.
"I just try to give it a different look and keep coming," Cauley-Stein said. "He's going to score, he's going to get rebounds, that's what he does, he's really good at that, it's just, how many times can you prevent him from doing it?"
The Kings won both games against the 76ers last season, but Philly is shooting. They have a record of 7-2 in their previous nine games and Embiid is a big part of that success.