Embiid thinks it will be easy to build chemistry with Harden

If Team Durant had defeated Team LeBron Sunday night in Cleveland, Joel Embiid, who led Team Durant with 36 points and 10 rebounds, would have probably been named All-Star MVP.

However, Steph Curry had 50 points, and LeBron James made the game-winner as Team LeBron defeated Team Durant 163-160 in the 2022 NBA All-Star game at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

The 27-year-old Embiid is the leading candidate to win regular-season MVP. Embiid is leading the NBA in points per game as he’s averaging 29.6 points to go along with 11.2 RPG. 

Last season, the five-time All-Star was on the verge of winning the MVP award, but injuries derailed his chances.  After the All-Star break, Embiid injured his knee, which forced him to miss 10 games. He played in 51 of the team’s 72 games in 2020-21.  This season, Embiid has missed 12 games, nine due to COVID. 

According to Embiid, he’s not worried about getting injured and expects to stay healthy the rest of the way.

“The crazy thing about me is that, obviously, I haven’t gotten injured in a long time, and I haven’t missed a long period of time for a very long time,” he said after the game. “So, every single time — even when I came back from really the first three years that I missed, it never crossed my mind that I had to go easy, try to make sure that I didn’t get hurt.

“My mindset was always, like, just going on the court. Whatever happens, happens. I believe in God. I pray. I’m Catholic, so I was, like, I’m just going to do my thing. I’m going to try. I’m going to do my best. Whatever happens, happens. That’s always my mindset. Going back, obviously, I’ve done a better job taking care of myself, and this is where it’s really going to show, and this is where I even have got to do even more to make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen this year, but I’m excited. We’ve got a great team. I’ve got to play every single game, so we can all play together and really figure out how to play with each other, but it’s going to be fun.”

Before the trade deadline, Philadelphia acquired 10-time All-Star James Harden and Paul Millsap from Brooklyn for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and multiple first-round picks.

Embiid believes that building chemistry with Harden won’t be a problem.

“We got to get on the floor together and try to build chemistry,” Embiid said. “I think it’s going to be easy to build that chemistry. Everybody is on the same page. We all are trying to win a championship, so that’s the goal. I think it’s all about everybody just staying healthy and getting on the floor and us getting together and really playing together.”

The pressure is on Embiid and Harden to win an NBA title, and anything short of that, would be a disappointment.

 

Embiid, Simmons out of 2021 All-Star Game

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson will replace Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid in the starting lineup for Team Durant in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, which will be played tonight at State Farm Arena in Atlanta (8 p.m. ET, TNT and ESPN Radio). Team Durant head coach Doc Rivers made the decision to go with Williamson to replace Embiid.

Embiid and his teammate, All-Star Ben Simmons, have been ruled out of the 2021 NBA All-Star game due to the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Embiid and Simmons were exposed to COVID-19 through their personal barber, who had a positive test result and is awaiting another test. Both players traveled by themselves on private planes and had no exposure to other players or people down in the Atlanta bubble. 

Fortunately, both players did not come in contact with the other All-Stars in Atlanta.

Mavs’ Luka Doncic named NBA All-Star game starter

The NBA announced today that Mavericks guard Luka Doncic has been voted as a starter for the 70th NBA All-Star Game, which will take place at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena on Sunday, March 7, at 7 p.m. CT on TNT.

Doncic is the first Maverick to be voted as a starter two consecutive seasons after starting the game last year. He is just the third Maverick to start an All-Star Game along with Dirk Nowitzki (2007, 2010) and Jason Kidd (1996). Kidd is the only other Dallas player voted in as a starter (Nowitzki started as a replacement for an injured starter twice). Doncic is the 32nd All-Star in franchise history and is the seventh Maverick to earn multiple All-Star nods.

Among league leaders, the 21-year-old Slovenian ranks fifth in scoring (29.1 ppg), third in assists (9.4 apg) and 18th in rebounding (8.6 rpg). Dončić co-leads the NBA in triple-doubles this season (7) and has recorded three 30-point triple-doubles.

Most recently, Doncic set a career scoring mark, pouring in 46 points vs. New Orleans (2/12/21), before recording a second straight 40-point game with 44 vs. Portland (2/14/21).

In January, Doncic averaged 28.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 10.3 assists. After averaging a 30-point triple-double in November 2019, Doncic is now the third player in NBA history to average 25-10-10 in multiple calendar months (min. 10 games), joining Oscar Robertson and Russell Westbrook.

Fans accounted for 50% of the vote to determine the 10 starters for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game. All current NBA players and a media panel accounted for 25% each. Those voters completed one full ballot featuring two guards and three frontcourt players from each conference.

For the first time, the entire NBA All-Star celebration will take place on one night, with on-court action beginning at 5:30 p.m. CT. TNT’s coverage will begin at 4 p.m. CT with “TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by CarMax,” followed by the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge and MTN DEW® 3-Point Contest at 5:30 p.m. CT. Coverage of the 70th NBA All-Star Game will begin at 7 p.m. CT, with AT&T Slam Dunk taking place at halftime. The game will follow the same format as last year, with the teams competing to win each quarter and playing to a Final Target Score during the untimed fourth quarter.

Changes coming to the NBA All-Star game?

This year’s NBA All-Star game was not very good. Actually, it was hot garbage! Too many dunks and not enough defense. End of the day, it is an exhibition game. How much good basketball do you expect to see in an exhibition game? The NBA still has the best all star game out there(not saying much), but if the players  took it just a tad more seriously it would make for a better game.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told a group at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference a few changes he had in mind:

“You hear people talking about 4-point shots, something that’s not about to happen in the NBA but maybe in an All-Star Game; maybe there is few spots on the floor where it is a 4-point shot, maybe there’s a half-court shot in the last minute that is 10 points. I don’t know. Maybe those are crazy ideas.”

I don’t like any of those ideas,  but what do I know!