The Sixers have a real shot to win the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, something fueled by Joel Embiid‘s dominant play. The big man notched 71 points and 25 rebounds over Philadelphia’s back-to-back this weekend (vs. Bos, at Det) and he would have my theoretical MVP vote if the season ended today, as I wrote earlier in the week.
Embiid’s typical load management isn’t likely to be a factor at the end of the year with media voting as Joel has played in several back-to-backs already and many other stars have missed time as well due to a variety of factors that include injuries, load management, and COVID-19 protocols.
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- We’re starting to see some growth in an area where Ben Simmons gets some criticism: free-throw shooting. The former No. 1 overall pick made 10-of-12 shots from the line against Detroit on Saturday. “I know I’m capable of getting to the line…if I get there, I have to knock them down,” Simmons told FortyEightMinutes and other reporters after the contest.
- Simmons makes so many things on the court look so easy and while he’s trying to expand his game, he’s not forcing anything. “I’m going to continue to grow my game and get better for my team. But, ultimately, I just want to win,” Simmons said on Friday night. “And however I need to do that, whether it’s getting 10 steals and no points, no rebounds and 50 assists, whatever it is, I’m going to do.”
- Tobias Harris said the team is “trusting each other” more this year, adding that Doc Rivers is allowing the team to play their game. Harris elaborated on his relationship with Embiid during the postgame zoom call on Saturday night. “It’s been good. I think you guys (the media) can see it…he’s a competitor…he’s having fun out there and we’re embracing each other. It’s a fun vibe.”
#HereTheyCome Tobias Harris on his friendship with Joel.
"It's been good. I think you guys (the media) can see it…he's a competitor…he's having fun out there and we're embracing each other. It's a fun vibe."
— Chris Crouse 🏙 (@NBACrouse) January 24, 2021