Not for the first time, star big man Joel Embiid came up huge for the Philadelphia 76ers.
In the team’s 108-103 win in Boston on Monday night, the 7-foot-center had a dominant game that was too much for the Celtics, pouring in 41 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, four blocks and two steals.
This performance puts him alongside some Hall of Fame centers of the past. This was Embiid’s third game of at least 40 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four blocks, which is the second-most since blocks became official in 1973-74 and only trails Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s four.
It’s his sixth career game of 40-10-5, which takes him past Charles Barkley’s tally of five, and is the most in 76ers franchise history since 1982. While those dominant all-round numbers are eye-popping, it might have been in vain if not for Embiid’s late-game takeover against the Celtics.
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The big man exploded for 17 fourth-quarter points with nine of those points coming from the free-throw line, nearly outscoring the hosts who only managed 23 points.
Boston held its largest lead of the game of seven with four minutes left but Embiid was unstoppable. He outscored the Celtics 11-7 over those last four minutes and iced the game with a clutch jumper from the baseline.
This isn’t the first time he’s stepped up for the 76ers. In Ben Simmons’ absence, the burden on Embiid has increased many folds but he’s delivered for the team, especially in crunch time.
He leads the league in clutch scoring, averaging a league-best 6.3 points per game over 13 games, helping the short-handed 76ers hold an 8-5 record in those close contests. His average is 1.5 points more than the second-best player, which is LeBron James.
While the 76ers have failed to string too many wins together, even since Embiid’s return, with this victory snapping a three-game losing streak, the center surely makes them a must-watch.