NEW YORK — Joel Embiid brushed off concern over taping his left wrist Thursday leading up to the Sixers’ game against the Knicks.
“It’s just swag,” Embiid said following the Sixers’ 118-110 win (see observations). “I just wanted to look swaggy, so I thought it was a great look for me. Some type of new swag. That’s why I had it.”
Embiid’s wrist was taped during morning shootaround and pregame warmups. He did not wear it during the game.
“It’s been feeling weird lately, but I don’t think it’s anything,” Embiid said. “I’ve been playing alright, so I don’t think there’s anything to worry about.”
Embiid played more than alright Thursday at Madison Square Garden. He erased any uneasiness of a potential injury with a game-high 29 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two blocks. The big man scored 13 points in the first quarter alone.
With 2:26 to go in the game, he blocked an attempted layup by Emmanuel Mudiay that would have given the Knicks back the lead.
“He was the major reason we won tonight,” Brett Brown said. “Joel was our bell ringer tonight. Tomorrow is his birthday. It was a good present we all had with his performance tonight.”
The sight of Embiid's wrist probably would not have raised an eyebrow for most players — athletes wear medical tape every game — but the center’s lengthy injury history and his importance to the Sixers were enough to cause concern.
He is averaging 23.5 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. After playing under medical restrictions to start his career, Embiid has appeared in 12 straight games.
Embiid is slated to spend his 24th birthday taking on the Nets Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center.