March 23, 2023

Joel Embiid’s Historic Night Leads 76ers Past Jazz

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not often that we get to witness history, but that’s exactly what happened tonight. Joel Embiid created history tonight becoming the first player in NBA history to post a stat line of 59 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists, and 7 blocks in a single game. That absurd stat line helped propel the Sixers to a 105-98 victory against the Utah Jazz.

This win is the Sixers second in as many days as they were able to defeat the Hawks yesterday bringing their record on the season to 7-7.

Joel Embiid Makes History

When it was announced that James Harden was going to miss a month with a foot tendon strain the focus came back to Embiid. If this team had any chance to dig out of this early hole without Harden he was going to have to return to MVP like form, and man has he done that and more. In yesterdays victory over the Hawks Embiid posted 42 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assist. The 42 points was a season high and fans were encouraged by what they saw from the Sixers big man. Embiid struggled in the beginning of the year to his standards and also missed some time due to the flu, so it was good to see him get into his rhythm. He carried that momentum into tonights game. Embiid finished with a career high 59 points while also having 11 rebounds and 8 assist. The fourth quarter of tonights game is where Embiid really took over. In the 4th quarter he had 26 points along with 5 blocks. The game was tight from the jump and he was able to dominate both ends of the floor when it mattered most.

The Jazz traded away Defensive Player of the Year Center Rudy Gobert this offseason and his impact, or lack there of, really showed tonight. The Jazz were throwing different players at Embiid and he was able to take advantage of each of them. Embiid had everything working tonight on the offensive end of the floor. He is virtually impossible to guard when he is on and eventually the Jazz just had to start fouling him. It amazes you every day that he is a 7 foot 2 inch Center doing these things on the offensive end of the floor.

While Embiid obviously dominated offensively tonight, he was also dominate defensively. Embiid finished tonights game with 7 blocks. It seemed as if every time a Jazz player drove to the paint their shot was getting rejected. It was obvious that when he was off the floor the Jazz were able to get a lot of easy baskets going at the rim. It can sometimes be overshadowed by his amazing skills offensively, but Embiid is one of the best defenders in the NBA.

Team Defensive Struggles

While Embiid was dominate on the defensive end, the team as a whole was not. One of the biggest flaws with the team so far has been their defense. When Embiid was not in the game the Jazz were able to get tons of open looks around the rim. They also were able to get some easy looks in transition. While the Jazz didn’t shoot a great percentage from the floor, the Sixers still have some stuff to clean up. With Thybulle and Melton getting more minuets the defense has improved. The team has a bunch of new players, and its still very early in the season, so hopefully some of their weaknesses get ironed out as the season goes on.

Looking Ahead

The Sixers have some good tests coming up in their next few games. They do not play again until Friday where they will take on the Bucks. After that they take on the Timberwolves and the Nets. The game against the Nets could be Ben Simmons first time back in Philadelphia as a opposing player if he is healthy by then. These games coming up will be a great chance to see how the Sixers currently stack up against some of the title contenders, and hopefully they can string a few more wins together.

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