PHILADELPHIA, PA — In pursuit of their sixth straight victory, the Philadelphia 76ers hosted the San Antonio Spurs Monday night for a bit of inner-conference action. Not only did the Sixers achieve that desired outcome, but fans in attendance witnessed a historic game by the NBA’s reigning MVP, Joel Embiid.
The story entering the evening was the battle between the Sixers’ Joel Embiid and the Spurs’ rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama, and even after the final buzzer, both big-time players had left their impact, but it was the former who quickly thrust himself into the spotlight for the evening, setting a Sixers franchise record after scoring 70 points in 37 minutes Monday night.
Joel Embiid continues to dominate
Despite being named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week earlier Monday afternoon, it quickly became clear that Joel Embiid was not in the mood to coast on his accomplishment.
From the jump, Embiid was engaged and hungry, looking to establish his dominance against the French Phenom. After just one-quarter of action, Embiid had already amassed 24 points, six rebounds, and two assists. By just over midway through the third quarter, he had hit 50. There was no stopping the reigning MVP tonight.
As has been the case all season, Joel Embiid has been playing his brand of basketball, and the league has been doing its best to keep up. The Sixers’ superstar center is now averaging 36.1 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 5.9 assists with a historically strong 65.1 true shooting percentage.
As he has been all season, Joel Embiid was assertive, he was efficient, he was dominant.
A battle of Titans
As the Titan Kronos once devoured his offspring, some have said Joel Embiid has done so to the next generation of unicorn centers. Kronos’ was ultimately doomed to be overcome by his own children, and while Joel Embiid has yet to show any sign of slowing down, it’s clear the next generation is coming.
The No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA draft and on-again, off-again Rookie of the Year favorite was on full display in Philadelphia, showcasing his unique blend of size, skill, and athleticism. There were plays made by Wembanyama that you would have to watch thrice before you would believe them, and perhaps not even then.
No matter what the Sixers threw at Wemby, unless it was Joel Embiid himself, there was no hope to stop or even contain him.
While it was quite the night for Wembanyama, who totaled 33 points and seven rebounds in 28 minutes, he could not live up to the performance that Embiid put forth, proving it was still Kronos’ time on this earth for the time being.
Even still, one must take a moment to appreciate the rarity that is a player like Wembanyama. To see such a unique player and for him to be the second most thrilling player on the court, that night is incredible and speaks volumes to both his performance and that of Joel Embiid.
Up next for the Sixers
The Sixers will enjoy a lengthy break before they hit the road for a five-game trip. Their first stop is the new-look Indiana Pacers, who are still in search of their first win after acquiring Pascal Siakam from the Toronto Raptors.
Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM on Thursday night, Jan 25, and you can catch the game on NBC Sports Philadelphia or on NBA League Pass.