“57 out of 103 is crayo,” tweeted Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies. Embiid would go on to put up 59 points — including 26 of the team’s 27 fourth-quarter points — in the Sixers’ 105-98 win on November 13 over the Utah Jazz.
“Joel went F^*%*ng [nuts]!! OMG,” tweeted Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks, using a peanut emoji. A night earlier Young and the Hawks lost 121-109 to the Sixers, a game in which Embiid scored 42 points.
Even cornerback Darius Slay of the Philadelphia Eagles got in on the fun.
“Yo @JoelEmbiid I need a jersey…,” Slay tweeted, using a clenched fist to imply solidarity. He has played a notable part in growing connectivity of Philly sports, part of which includes players in each organization attending each other’s games. In Week 2, Slay handed an interception ball to the Sixers’ James Harden, who was attending the game.
Embiid on His Performance
Embiid’s heroic performance, which included 11 rebounds, eight assists and seven blocks, was necessary for the Sixers to pick up the win and move team to 7-7 on the season.
Embiid had the entire fan base in awe as he masterfully controlled both sides of the court en route to the win. Still, the superstar seemed unsatisfied with his historic performance, saying after the game, “I got a long way to go so. Got a lot more to accomplish.”
Sixers’ Outlook Moving Forward
The Sixers have climbed back to .500 on the season and have moved back up to sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Since their slow start to the season, there has been notable improvement on both sides of the ball and, despite starting the season in the bottom 10 in each category, the Sixers now rank 15th in offensive rating and fifth in defensive rating, according to a tweet from Harrison Grimm of SB Nation’s Liberty Ballers.
Coming into the season Embiid and the Sixers spoke about the emphasis on defense they intended to have. The goal was set on media day when Embiid stated, “Our focus is on defense. We aim to be the best defensive team in the league. That’s gonna take all of us. I’ve gotta get back to not waiting until the fourth [quarter] to be that guy. Doing it all game. … We’ve got the pieces.”
His seven blocks tied a career high and his presence in the paint changed the game. Embiid’s play on defense has always been one of his more distinctive qualities, but it had not been on display to start the season. His seeming disinterest in playing defense was frustrating fans.
The whispers of concerns surrounding Embiid’s health or fitness to start the season can now be shut down after two straight dominant starts. The superstar accounted for 56.7% of the Sixers’ points. He will continue to carry additional burden while James Harden remains out with a right foot injury.
The Sixers’ next game is November 18 against the first-place Milwaukee Bucks.