The Philadelphia 76ers welcomed the top team in the West, the Utah Jazz, to the City of Brotherly Love Sunday night. Behind Joel Embiid’s historic performance, the Sixers would secure the win, their second consecutive win for the first time this season.
Entering the season, now one would have expected tonight’s game to be a tough task. After all, the Sixers came into the season with title aspirations while the Jazz were supposedly entering an extreme rebuild. Flash forward to the 13th of November, and the Sixers had sputtered to a 6-7 start while the Utah Jazz held the best record in the Western Conference.
Philadelphia would find themselves down six at the half — in large part due to the struggles of all not named Joel Embiid. With strong showings in the third and fourth quarters — on the back of Joel Embiid’s incredible performance — however, the Sixers would find themselves taking the lead and eventually edging out the Jazz in the final few minutes of the game.
Sunday night was about more than just the Sixers’ win; it was about a moment in NBA history and how the Sixers’ franchise player contributed to an unforgettable night.
Joel Embiid makes history
59 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists, and 7 blocks. That was Joel Embiid’s stat line from the game on Sunday night, and as impressive as the numbers certainly are, they are all the more spectacular when you view them through the proper context.
To put the performance into perspective, the low-hanging fruit is that it’s a career-high in both points and blocks (tied in blocks). It’s also the first time a Sixer had scored that many points since 2005, when Allen Iverson did so against the Orlando Magic. Furthermore, it’s the fifth most points scored in franchise history. Finally, there’s the simple fact that this is the first time in NBA history that a player has posted this stat line. Ever.
There has never been a single player in the history of the entire league — or at least since 1973-1974 when the league began tracking blocks — to do what Joel Embiid did tonight. That is an insane thought these days. How rare it is for an NBA player to accomplish something that has not already been done, and yet, Joel Embiid did just that tonight.
The Sixers needed no less either, as the rest of the team struggled immensely against the Utah Jazz, scoring just 35 points while shooting 27.6% on shots Embiid neither shot himself nor assisted on.
While this type of performance cannot and will not be the norm going forward, it is truly something special to boast a player capable of a night such as this. There are some who may grow weary of Embiid’s perceived antics, but the truth cannot be denied. Philadelphia fans are witnessing one of the greatest players in franchise history in the middle of his prime.
Up next for the Sixers
The Philadelphia 76ers will have the next four days to rest as they will not play another game until they face the Milwaukee Bucks, again at home, on Friday night. This will be the second matchup of the season between Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid. The latter will certainly be out for revenge after not just the loss but also to redeem his poor performance from that night.
After totaling 101 points over his past two games, it’s safe to say that Embiid is back in midseason form and appears to be ready for whatever challenge Giannis and the Bucks may present.