While Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid definitely showed signs of rust in his first live game action in more than three weeks, they were few and far between.
After missing his team’s last 10 games with a left knee bone bruise, Embiid was finally back in the fold as the Sixers played host to Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday. And in spite of his extended absence, Philly’s MVP candidate was the picture of efficiency when he was on the floor.
As a result, the Sixers beat the T-Wolves in front of the fans at Wells Fargo Center, 122-113. It was the club’s 12th win in its last 15 games and its fourth in a row with Embiid in the lineup.
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Still Making an MVP-Level Impact
In his 28 minutes on the floor, Embiid scored 24 points and added eight boards, three blocked shots and two assists for the Sixers. While that line is nothing to sneeze at in and of itself, his efficiency may have been the most impressive aspect of his night.
Although his shot failed him in stretches, the four-time All-Star nonetheless managed his impressive point total on just 14 field goal attempts. Time and time again, the T-Wolves were forced to put him on the free-throw line as he had his way with them offensively.
Consequently, Embiid attempted 17 foul shots in the contest, making 12. In doing so, he became the league leader in games with 10-plus made free throws. It was the 18th time he has managed the feat this season.
However, the most impressive number coming out of Embiid’s performance may be 20, which is the number of points Minnesota was outscored by when he was in the game.
It wasn’t just a game-high plus/minus score, but also another sterling example of Embiid’s incredible value to his team.
Harris Dishes on Embiid’s Return
Embiid may have been the plus/minus king against Minnesota, but it was Tobias Harris that paced Philly’s scoring effort. In 32 minutes of play, Harris dropped 32 points on just 17 shot attempts.
After the game, though, he praised Embiid’s effort in his first game back from injury.
“He looked good. It’s a lot of time that he’s been out. So, to be able to just come back and gain his rhythm like that was good for us,” he said.
Harris also expects that better days lie ahead for Embiid.
“Game by game, he’s going to continue to get his wind up and his shape up and he’s going to be dominating like he did tonight, just in a quicker fashion,” he said. “So, it was just great to see him back out there and it was big for him, too, to be out there with us.”
The Sixers (34-15) will have little time to rest before taking to the court once again. They will be back in action again on Sunday with a home bout with Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies (23-23).
Tip-off will be at 7 p.m. Eastern time.