The Philadelphia 76ers faced the Utah Jazz on Wednesday in a matchup of the top two teams in their respective conferences. Everything was set to be a great showdown, as both teams have star power both on the perimeter and in the greats’ venues.
Joel Embiid once again had another great night as he dropped 40 points and 19 rebounds, including a huge triple to force overtime in a 131-123 victory. He came in a showdown with former Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, which will open a lot of eyes in the MVP conversation.
Embiid also fired an efficient 14 of 27 from the ground and was 10 of 13 from the line. Considering the state Gobert is in, the big boy wanted to take him away.
“In facing him, one of my goals is to also be the Defensive Player of the Year,” Embiid said. “When you go against those guys, he’s a great player, he does a lot for his team that doesn’t appear on the stat sheet, but when you go against those guys, it brings something else into my game. I want to dominate on the offensive side, but mainly on the defensive side. That is the goal I set for myself at the beginning of the year ”.
The Sixers needed every point from Embiid in this against the best team in the NBA in terms of records and it was very important for them to pick up this win and go into halftime with some momentum. It really is one of his best wins of the season.
“It was absolutely incredible,” said coach Doc Rivers. “He got what he wanted when he wanted it. He made the right plays. It was a great team victory for us. We are lucky to have gotten a 3 from Joel, which is huge for us and we wanted a 2 or a 3 at the time. We didn’t mind because we had a downtime in our pocket, but that was big. “
The Sixers have two players running for Defensive Player of the Year in Embiid, as well as Ben Simmons, but for the big boy to come out and play like he did on offense against Gobert and then block two shots is huge.
“Obviously, I have another one of my teammates who has the potential to be Defensive Player of the Year, but those are the matchups you want to go out and just dominate,” Embiid added. “Show everyone that we have a great team and individually, you should be up there when it comes to those rankings and stuff.”
The Sixers will now head into the All-Star break sitting on top of the East after a big win.
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