Stunning performance from Embiid helps Sixers neutralize Celtics

NBA: FEB 24 Magic at 76ers
PHILADELPHIA, PA – FEBRUARY 24: Philadelphia 76ers Center Joel Embiid (21) laughs with Orlando Magic Center Bismack Biyombo (11) in the second half during the game between the Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers on February 24, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

Yet another MVP night for the Sixers big man.

Following a frustrating loss at the hands of Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies, the Sixers bounced back in a big way by knocking off their longtime division rival; the Boston Celtics. While granted the C’s were without their superstar forward Jayson Tatum, it was a strong performance from Philadelphia, led by none other than Joel Embiid himself.

Being guarded by the likes of Daniel Theis and Tristan Thompson (who the Celtics primarily signed to defend Embiid), JoJo simply had his way down by the rim all night long. He finished with 42 points and 10 rebounds while going 17-21 from the foul line. It was a long night for the Boston bigs, one that head coach Brad Stevens will undoubtedly be concerned about should the two teams meet in the postseason again.

Outside of Embiid’s brilliance, the Sixers also saw solid nights from the likes of Tobias Harris, Danny Green, Shake Milton, and yes – even Ben Simmons.

Harris dropped 22 points on 9-17 shooting, Milton and Green combined for 28, and Simmons flirted with a triple-double, as he posted 11 points, 8 rebounds, and assists.

Simmons still lacked an overall sense of aggression on the offensive side of the ball (something fans have been extremely critical of this season), but his ability to get to the free-throw line and subsequently knock them down was a step in the right direction (7-10).

While Embiid’s 40 and 10 should keep him firmly at the top of the NBA’s MVP power ranking, there are definitely some concerns to be had from tonight’s win. The Celtics were obviously without their leading scorer in Tatum, and Doc Rivers had a lot of trouble scheming up ways to deal with Boston’s heavy pick and roll offense – something Brett Brown notoriously struggled with as well.

Ultimately speaking, it was a solid win, and one that the Sixers can build off of as the two sides face each other again on Friday. However, some adjustments will have to be made, from both coaches.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire