Sometimes it is difficult to put into words how great Joel Hans Embiid is capable of being. The Philadelphia 76ers superstar has been the stabilizing point of the franchise for nearly the last decade and has been a beacon of hope for Sixers fans dating back to before he ever took the court. The Sixers managed to pick up a 105-98 victory over the Jazz and the team would not have been remotely in the game if it were not for their center’s elite level of play.
Embiid ended with a career-high 59 points which counted for 56.7% of the team’s points on the night. He also added 11 rebounds, eight assists, and seven blocks. The superstar had one of the most dominant performances in NBA history and had his fingerprints on the Sixers’ success on both sides of the floor.
Historical Greatness of Embiid’s Performance
Since blocks have begun being recorded as an official stat (1973-74), Embiid is the first player in NBA history to record 50+ points and 5+ blocks. There have been 194 games in which players have scored 50+ points. There has never been a player to have more than three blocks in these matchups. Only 14 of these players had more than the eight assists that Embiid tallied. Only nine players have done it on fewer shots than Embiid, as he ended the matchup with 28 field-goal attempts.
This 59-point effort is also the fifth-highest scoring total by a Sixers player in franchise history. He trails only Wilt Chamberlain (68,65,62) and Allen Iverson (60) as the highest tally in franchise history. Following the victory, Doc Rivers was also in awe of Embiid’s performance. As the veteran head coach stated, “I’ve never seen a more dominating performance – when you combine defense and offense.” Rivers also mentioned how it was especially impressive considering it wasn’t a matchup that Embiid had it going early on. While his combination of strength and skill was vital to the production, this performance had more to do with his will to win and the necessity of the production than anything else.
Embiid’s Individual Accomplishment
Coming into this matchup, Embiid’s previous career-high was 50 points. He comfortably exceeded this in the 59-point effort and the Sixers needed every one of them. Embiid also set a career-high for field goals made (19) and tied his record for blocks in a game (7).
Looking outside of Embiid, the Sixers’ next highest scorer was Tyrese Maxey with 18 points. No other player cracked double figures with Tobias Harris coming in as the third-highest-scorer with eight. Excluding Embiid’s shot attempts, the Sixers shot just 21-55 (38.2%) from the field. During the fourth quarter, the Sixers scored 27 total points. Embiid tallied 26 of these and was the only member of the team to record a field goal.
On a night in which no one else had it going, Embiid refused to let the Sixers lose. This victory was a reminder of what a special talent he is and how no one in the NBA can match his blend of size, skill, power, and IQ. Embiid made the right reads throughout the game and very easily could have had his fifth career triple-double if it were not for the Sixers’ 4-23 (17.4%) performance on three-point attempts. When asked about his favorite part of the performance following the game, Embiid stated “zero turnovers in the second half,” per Austin Krell of The Painted Lines.
It has not been the smooth start to the Sixers’ season that they have hoped for, but you cannot count out the franchise as long as Embiid is playing near this type of level. The reigning MVP runner-up had a slow start to the season but looks to be playing like himself once again. The 101 combined points in the back-to-back matchups should be enough to quiet any concerns. If Embiid can maintain this level of play when James Harden returns to the lineup, the potential this Sixers team has is sky-high.