Joel Embiid sent a timely reminder, that on his day he can be the most dominant big man in the NBA.
While Nikola Jokic has arguably owned that title through the first three weeks of the season, Embiid's dominance on both ends against the Miami Heat in the 76ers' 137-134 overtime win was the difference as they halted their three-game losing streak.
After scoring a season-high 38 points against the Washington Wizards last week, Embiid turned it up against the Heat, pouring in 45 points, 16 rebounds, four assists and a career-high five steals, becoming the first player with such a stat line since 1983-84.
Games with 45+ PTS, 15+ REB by a Sixer since 1983:- StatMuse (@statmuse) January 13, 2021
2 - Joel Embiid
2 - Charles Barkley
1 - Moses Malone pic.twitter.com/lKviUpDvEg
The 76ers needed every one of his buckets as they trailed by 13 points early in the third quarter, before Embiid came to life.
He scored 20 of their 41 points in the period, demanding the ball in the post and attacking his defenders with confidence. He shot 8-of-8 in the period and 4-of-4 at the free-throw line.
He carried that into the fourth quarter and with the 76ers trailing 120-115, rookie Isaiah Joe buried a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to two points, before Embiid knocked down the mid-range jumper to force OT with 4.3 seconds to go.
Thank you, Jo. pic.twitter.com/TgzUBEnyOs- Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) January 13, 2021
He went on to dominate the extra period, scoring 11 of Philly's 17 points.
"It's who he is, and we tell him that every night, head coach Doc Rivers said post-game.
"When we put him in the middle of the floor, I thought [Miami] really struggled. He willed this game for us tonight, and so did other guys."
If the 76ers are going to contend for the title this season, they'll need to see more of this version of Embiid.
Sixers find shooting touch
Philly's off-season moves brought plenty of shooting to the roster, but had yet to find their rhythm from beyond the arc.
Against the Heat, they knocked down a season-high 19 three-pointers on a season-high 55 attempts, thanks largely to Danny Green's breakout performance in a 76ers uniform.
Coming off an 0-of-7 night from deep yesterday against the Hawks, the three-time NBA champion buried a career-high nine triples on 21 attempts on his way to a season-high 29 points, adding 10 rebounds and six assists.
With Seth Curry, Tobias Harris, Shake Milton and Matisse Thybulle all sidelined due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the 76ers got some much-needed shooting from some unlikely sources.
Veteran Mike Scott connected on 4-of-12, Isaiah Joe 4-of-10 and two-way guard Dakota Mathias 1-of-3. His only bucket of the game gave the 76ers a three-point lead with 26.6 seconds to go in OT.
https://t.co/LsfMmmo0Ob pic.twitter.com/nJ44WpDYkJ- Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) January 13, 2021
The short-handed 76ers, who were missing seven players tonight will take on the Heat again on Friday (IST).
The Heat were missing eight players for tonight's game, due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, including Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic, Avery Bradley and Meyers Leonard.
The views on this page do not necessarily represent the views of the NBA or its clubs.