This week’s star goes to Joel Embiid. In an effort to become the first 76ers’ rookie to start in an All-Star game since the great Wilt Chamberlain in 1960 and the first overall rookie since Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin in 2011, the big man put on a show.
Embiid opened the week with a 22 point 12 rebound performance in 113 – 104 win against the Milwaukee Bucks. Philadelphia fell behind early, trailing at halftime 54 – 46, but behind 12 fourth quarter points from the rookie sensation were able to secure the win.
That momentum would carry over as the 76ers returned home to defeat the Atlantic Division leading Toronto Raptors 94 – 89. The win snapped a 14 game losing streak to the Raptors. The Sixers’ big man would again steal the show with 26 points and nine rebounds.
In his final appearance of the week, against the Portland Trail Blazers, the former Kansas JayHawk dropped 18 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked four shots. Philly would go into halftime down double-digits 56 – 43, but opened the third quarter up with an 18 – 7 run to whittle the lead down to four points. Philly would go on to win 93 – 92.
The week was not all love for the center, who departed the Blazers game early due to a reported hyperextended knee, and would miss the following contest against the Atlanta Hawks. Without Embiid the Sixers got shellacked 110 – 93.
Philadelphia finished the week 3 – 1, thanks in large part to the center and the enthusiasm he brings to the court.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
If it’s free it’s me
Lost in all of Embiid’s ferocious dunks and three pointers are just how potent the big man has been from the free throw line, specifically in the fourth quarters. In Milwaukee, the center shot 8-for-10 from the charity stripe, at home versus the Raptors 5-for-6 and against the Blazers 1-for-3, all en-route to an impressive 74 percent.
The impact the rookie has on the defensive end is remarkable, but being able to run the offense through him in close games is something that will separate the Sixer from other centers in the league.
With such a small margin of victory (6.9 points), foul shooting can be the deciding factor between wins and losses. Going forward the ability for the center to make free throws at crucial and clutch moments will be invaluable. It also will prove as an easy way for Embiid to boost his scoring average, and to stifle momentum building runs by opposing teams.
THIS WEEK IN 1982 – 83 (THE CHAMPIONSHIP YEAR):
The good doctor found the fountain of youth this week, as Erving would average 24 points and 10 rebounds. Playing three games in four days, while not ideal, would prove to be the second most impressive feat for Dr. J. The first being shooting an “in his prime” 60 percent while netting those 24 points.
Philly continued to roll, as their win streak reached 14. Equally as impressive was the complete annihilation that was administrated. Wins of eight points, 20 points and 13 it was apparent the 76ers were hitting their stride with no shows of slowing down.
TWEET OF THE WEEK: