Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid had another strong performance with 26 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists as Philly defeated the LeBron James-less Lakers 105-87 at Wells Fargo Center Thursday night.
James missed the game against the 76ers with knee soreness.
Embiid extended his streak of 25-point performances to 16 games, and before the win over the Lakers, Embiid was named a starter in his fifth straight All-Star Game.
After the game, Embiid reacted to being named an All-Star starter.
“Yeah, you know I could never take that for granted,’ he said. “You know, five times in a row now. You know, blessed, really to be in this position. You know there’s not a lot of guys that get to go through this. So anytime it happens, you know I’m just blessed.”
76ers head coach Doc Rivers added on Embiid: “Obviously, he was gonna make it, you know, but he’s done more than just been an All-Star for us; he’s doing everything for us on and off the floor. That’s why we have the record. I mean, with all the stuff floating around this team, we just keep winning; a lot of that is Joel’s leadership.”
Carmelo Anthony, who had nine points off the Lakers’ bench, thinks Embiid is a different player this season.
“I’m not the guy that likes to compare players and people because we will never see what that was about; his footwork is incredible, you know Olajuwon-esque, his post game is special,” Anthony said after the game. “He’s seven-two, he’s big, he is hard to guard. I’ll just keep it a hundred with you. He is a very tough guy to check out there on the court. I love the fact that he is playing at his own pace right now; he’s found his pace to play at; he’s taking the game a lot more serious now, as you can see, as we all can see. And that’s why he is able to dominate the way that he is able to do now, and he’s playing at an all-time high right now.”
Embiid is displaying the footwork of Olajuwon and playing with the dominance of Shaq, and right now, he’s carrying the 76ers on his back. Despite all the drama surrounding Ben Simmons, Philadelphia(29-19) is the fifth seed in the East and two games behind the Heat for the top spot in the conference. In addition, they are 26-11 when Embiid is in the lineup, so they’re in a decent spot right now.
We’ll see if they can improve the team before the trade deadline because the East is wide open.