It’s hard to believe, but Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid stepped up his game even more this past week against three talented opponents.
It seems a little redundant to have Joel Embiid as the Philadelphia 76ers player of the week for a third time in a row. However, after the unrealistic week the big man has had, there’s clearly no other choice, on top of that, Embiid performed well above expectation against three quality teams.
In the lone loss of the previous week against the Toronto Raptors, Embiid had his worst game ending it with 31 points. On top of the 31 points, Embiid also had 11 rebounds, four assists and one block, while shooting 11-21 from the field, 3-4 on 3-pointers and 6-7 on free throw attempts.
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While Embiid’s offense was on point, his defense wasn’t against the Raptors’ one-two punch at the center position. Starting center Serge Ibaka ended the contest with 16 points, eight rebounds, one assist, two steals and three blocks. Whereas backup center Jonas Valanciunas had 23 points, four rebounds, one assist and two blocks. It was definitely out of the norm for Embiid to let two centers to get going offensively.
In a single digit win against the Los Angeles Clippers, Embiid had a ridiculous outing. The big man produced 41 points, 13 rebounds, one assist and four blocks, while converting 16-32 shots from the floor, 3-8 shots from downtown and 6-9 foul shots.
Embiid caused both Marcin Gortat and Montrezl Harrell to experience foul trouble which made Clippers head coach Doc Rivers lean on Boban Marjanovic. The European big man was actually able to hold his own against the Sixers All-Star collecting 15 points and 11 rebounds. Yet he still had four fouls in 23 minutes, the most minutes played by the any of the LAC centers.
The Sixers franchise big man didn’t disappoint against the Detroit Piston. In the win, Embiid had 39 points, 17 rebounds, one assist and two blocks, while making 10-18 field goals, 1-3 of his 3-point shots and 18-23 shots from the charity strip. It should be noted that Embiid attempted a career high in free throw shots against the Pistons.
Like the Clippers big men before them, Pistons centers Andre Drummond and Zaza Pachulia both were one foul away from being disqualified from the contest. Both had foul trouble early on in the game and as seen by the sheer volume of foul shots attempted by Embiid, Detriot’s big men were purely out matched in the contest.
Robert Covington has earned this honorable mention due to his elite defensive play in two of the three matchups this past week. The NBA first team All-Defense player ended the week averaging 10.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.7 blocks and 3.0 steals per game. Covington’s defensive importance has sometimes gone underappreciated in the past, but this recent showing should reveal the type of impact he can make for the Sixers on defense.
Embiid had a special week for the Philadelphia 76ers, he averaged 37.0 points, 13.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.3 blocks per game. Domination like this shouldn’t be the norm for Embiid, fans shouldn’t be surprised if the big man goes on a hot streak like this once or twice more during the season.