It’s safe to say that Phoenix Suns center DeAndre Ayton may regret trash talking Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid. Or if he didn’t prior to Wednesday’s matchup, he certainly does now. While it was originally unknown if Embiid would even play in this game due to a knee injury, he not only suited up but completely dominated the first half. So much so, that it had Twitter going wild over the Sixers big man.
When halftime hit, Embiid had racked up 30 points, 14 rebounds, three steals, and one block while showing off a little bit of everything in his repertoire. This included a euro step dunk past former teammate Richaun Holmes, as Jake Hyman of Liberty Ballers revealed.
And for good measure, Embiid made the 2018 No. 1 pick in Ayton look completely overmatched. As Chris Montano of Def Pen Sports showed, the Sixers star basically walked past the rookie big man at points.
Embiid’s monster first half made him the first player to rack up at least 30 points and 10 rebounds by halftime since Antawn Jamison did so in 2000, as ESPN Stats & Info revealed. And it wasn’t just Sixers fans who were in awe over Embiid’s performance, as NBA Twitter as a whole couldn’t contain themselves.
Twitter Goes Wild Over Joel Embiid’s First Half
Joel Embiid’s MVP-Caliber Start to Season
It’s hard to deny that Embiid doesn’t at least deserve to be in the conversation for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award. Even prior to Wednesday’s monster performance against the Suns, he was averaging 26.5 points, 13.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.9 blocks per game. The 24-year-old also shot 48.4 percent from the field over 33.9 minutes per game over the team’s first 36 games.
For comparison’s sake, Embiid ranks No. 8 in the league in points, No. 3 in rebounds, No. 8 in blocks and leads the league with 32 (now 33) double-doubles. While there are quite a few talented big men across the NBA, Embiid is quickly making his case to be listed among the best out there. As the season rolls on, he’ll have a strong opportunity to continue to strengthen his MVP resume.
Performances like this obviously help bring the young star even more into the spotlight, although he spent plenty of time there even prior to the start of the current season.