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Multi-skilled Joel Embiid cooks Lakers for 46 points on career night

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Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, in Los Angeles. The 76ers won 115-109. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, in Los Angeles. The 76ers won 115-109. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Joel Embiid once again reminded the NBA of his massive potential Wednesday night in Los Angeles, where Philadelphia’s 7-foot-2 phenom cooked the Lakers for a a career-best performance.

Still in just his second season out of Kansas, Embiid’s new personal bests of 46 points, seven assists, seven blocks, 14 made field goals, 16 made free throws and 19 free-throw attempts — the do-it-all center grabbed 15 rebounds, too — fueled a 115-109 road win for the Sixers, who improved to 8-6 on the season.

“I was just playing basketball basically,” Embiid told The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey. “They just kept throwing the ball to me in the post. And I kept finding new ways to score the ball and I went to the free-throw line. That’s where I was best at last year. I felt like today I did a great job.”

Added the confident 23-year-old: “And with me using different moves and attacking them, they didn’t really know what to do.”

Most teams fall into that category of getting lost trying to stop Embiid. According to Synergy Sports Technology, the multi-skilled big man, who also shot 2-for-3 from 3-point range versus the Lakers, is the league’s best post-up player. He averages 8.6 points a night on post-ups in a modern NBA moving away low-block one-on-ones as an offensive staple.

Per Synergy, Embiid shoots 60 percent when single-covered in the post.

In his post-game television interview — after stopping to show some love to Philadelphia’s smallest big fan, Kevin Hart — Embiid said staying assertive keyed his ridiculous production.

“I did the same thing against the Clippers,” Philly’s biggest big said, referencing a 32-point, 16-rebound night two days earlier in which the man known most for missing games due to injuries and having his playing time restricted tallied a career-high 36 minutes. “I just wanted to come out and get down low and be a beast down there.”

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Embiid, who had to spend the majority of his offseason resting and recovering from a knee injury said he still isn’t up to speed from a conditioning standpoint, and estimated he is at about 69 percent on that front a little more than a month into the season.

That’s a frightening idea for the rest of the league, considering what Embiid and likely Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons already are doing to teams.

“It’s just not us, you’ve got to put it on our teammates, too,” Embiid said, crediting Robert Covington and J.J. Redick, as well as coach Brett Brown and his staff.

The Sixers, so bad for so long throughout “The Process” that landed them Embiid, Simmons and currently injured No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz, have won seven of their last nine games.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” Embiid said.

The 23-year-old from Cameroon became the first NBA player with 40-plus points, seven-plus assists and seven-plus blocks in a game since another Sixers legend, Julius Erving, did it in 1982.

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Embiid, averaging 23.0 points, 11.2 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 51.6-percent shooting this year, in 29.0 minutes, has played in just 43 games over the course of the past two seasons after missing his first two seasons due to injuries.

His health remains the biggest “if” in the NBA. But if Embiid can put those devastating injuries that sideline him for months behind him (everyone knock on the closest piece of wood you can find), he looks to be on a trajectory to become one of the league’s most dominating players.

Comments

Creg Bohrer 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Way to go Joel! He's stays healthy he'll be the best big man in the NBA..

Kevin Woods 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Waiting for the headline “Lonzo Ball and Joel Embiid combine for 48 points!”

David Friend 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Benton. Joel is in his third season out of Kansas not 2nd. Thanks for posting the article. Love hearing hawks in the NBA. what happened to the daily reports?

Tracey Graham 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Actually he's in his 4th season out of KU. He sat out his first 2 years and then played a little bit last year before getting hurt.

But in terms of actually seeing game action, he's a 2nd year NBA player

Tracey Graham 3 weeks, 4 days ago

As a huge 76ers' fan, all I can say is "watch out NBA" if Joel and Ben stay healthy. They are already one of the top duos in the NBA. Joel has been awesome all season, and it's great to see the Sixers lifted the minutes restriction. The next step is for the team to let him play in back-to-back contests...hopefully that will happen at some point this season.

It was awesome that the Lkers' game was on ESPN, because it let the rest of the country see why KU fans and Sixers' fans have been raving about him

Kenneth Johnson 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Now that Paul Pierce has retired, it's great to see that KU now has again a big star in the NBA.

With all due respect to Wiggins and the Morris brothers and the dozen or so other Jayhawks in the pros, Joel's the Beast now.

Tracey Graham 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Who stayed up last night to see Frank Mason III outplay both Lonzo Ball on De'Aaron Fox on national tv last night?

Looks like the Sacramento head coach has finally realized Frank deserves minutes -- he's played really well in the last few games and last night he was easily the best rookie PG on the floor

So happy for Frank. Hopefully he continues to get minutes.

rockchalk

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