Paul George

Our NBA All-Star challenge — describe Embiid in one word

Our NBA All-Star challenge — describe Embiid in one word

LOS ANGELES —  From trash talking on the court to expressing himself on social media, Joel Embiid is a player of many (many) words. So if his fellow All-Stars had to describe him in just one, what would it be? 

Draymond Green: "'Funny.' He's hilarious. The stuff he says, he goes on TV talking about (Kevin Durant's) burner account, he's talking how he's a savage. His Instagram locations, pretty funny. He's a good guy." 

Andre Drummond: "I’d probably say 'charismatic,' 'funny,' 'savage.' He don’t care, he just does what he wants to.”

Paul George: “Personality,' in all caps."

(Why all caps?)

“Because he’s a big dude.”

John Wall: "He's just 'himself.' He's very confident."

Anthony Davis: “'Savage.' Cool dude, he lives by his own rules. He’s just enjoying life and having fun.”

Jimmy Butler: "'Remarkable' in the fact that his game on the court is insane. Then the way he's always saying something to somebody on social media is really 'remarkable.'"

Bradley Beal: “'Wild.' He has no filter, he doesn’t care. That’s my boy, but he just has no remorse, doesn’t care."

LaMarcus Aldridge: “'Entertaining,' because he’s always on TV expressing how he feels. So, entertaining.”

More Sixers vs. Thunder, please

More Sixers vs. Thunder, please


OKLAHOMA CITY — The season series between the Sixers and Thunder isn’t really over, is it?

These teams could play each other 20 more times and each game would be one to watch.

What started in Philadelphia on Dec. 15 as a triple-overtime thriller carried over to Oklahoma City Sunday night as a high-intensity battle that resulted in a 122-112 win for the Thunder on their home court (see observations).

While the Sixers and Thunder will not face off again until next season, these two contests were just a glimpse into what already has the making of a must-see matchup. 

“After a little talk after game one, leading into this game, kind of was looking forward to it,” Russell Westbrook (37 points, 14 assists, nine rebounds) said. “But, you know, Oklahoma City, 2-0.” 

Their first meeting of the season at the Wells Fargo Center wrapped up with a preview of what was to come Sunday night. During the Thunder’s 119-117 victory, Joel Embiid waved goodbye when Steven Adams fouled out. That didn’t set well with Westbrook, who sent his own message to Embiid after the buzzer.

“He told me to go home,” Embiid said that night. “And this is my home and I ain’t going nowhere.”

When the Sixers traveled to the Thunder’s home, the Thunder put their mark on the game with a second-half push and improved to 19-7 at Chesapeake Energy Arena. They extended their current winning streak to eight games and recorded their 18th straight win over the Sixers dating back to 2008. 

“You come into this building and you know with the roster that they have that you are going to be in for a fist fight,” Brett Brown said. “They are a big team. They are a physical team. You roll out three gold medalists and All-Stars and you sort of have Steven Adams at the center of it all, you know you are in for a long night.”

It was clear from the start both teams hadn’t forgotten their first battle. There were hard fouls, players hitting the floor and aggressive drives to the basket. The Sixers’ and Thunder’s combined 106 points in the paint was reflective of the jam-heavy ballgame. Ben Simmons, Adams and Westbrook rank in the league’s top 10 in points in that area. 

“They are so many athletes,” Embiid (27 points, 10 rebounds) said. “There was a lot of dunks. It’s just a show. It’s fun to watch, it’s fun to be in. But I wish we would have had the win, but these games are fun.”

Entertaining with a strong undertone of fast-paced intensity. The similar styles of play fueled this up-and-down contest. Paul George (31 points) considers the Sixers and Thunder’s styles to “mirror” one another. 

Then there’s the shared desire to win.

“I thought the atmosphere in Philly was a great atmosphere to be a part of and go on the road and play that game. That was our first time enjoying ‘The Process,’” Carmelo Anthony (16 points) said. “Tonight was just, we knew it would be a fun, physical game. Those guys, they just play hard for the full 48 minutes regardless of what’s going on out there. I think Coach (Brett) Brown does a great job keeping those guys engaged throughout the course of the game.”

The teams could look different next season, with no guarantees of trades and moves in free agency, especially Paul George. But both Embiid and Westbrook are locked in for long-term deals, creating the foundation for an Eastern-Western Conference showdown that isn’t going away anytime soon.

Sixers' stars outshined in OKC

Sixers' stars outshined in OKC


OKLAHOMA CITY — It has been nearly 10 years since the Sixers beat the Thunder, and they will have to wait until next season to try to break that skid.

The Thunder topped the Sixers, 122-112, Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena to hand the Sixers’ their 18th straight loss in the matchup.

The trio of Russell Westbrook (37 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds) Paul George (31 points, four rebounds and four assists) and Steven Adams (20 points, 13 rebounds) propelled the Thunder’s (29-20) current win streak to eight.

Joel Embiid (27 points, 10 rebounds) and Ben Simmons (22 points, seven assists and four rebounds) led the Sixers (24-21).

A 101-tie halfway through the fourth turned into a Thunder domination to close the game. The Thunder scored 21 points in the final six minutes.

The Sixers have not won against the Thunder since Nov. 15, 2008, and are victory-less on the road dating back to Dec. 31, 2007, when the Thunder were the SuperSonics.

• Turnover check: The Sixers committed 18 (which the Thunder converted into 25 points), including seven in the third.

• Westbrook plays with an intensity that’s visible from any vantage point, but especially when the press seats at Chesapeake Energy Arena are courtside.

• The Sixers are 0-12 this season when giving up 114 points or more.

• Both teams were attacking the basket with driving dunks, it was no surprise they scored a combined 106 points in the paint (Thunder 62, Sixers 44).

• Third quarter problems snuck back in for the Sixers. They were up 75-68 with 7:33 to go in the quarter before the Thunder went on a 13-4 run to take back the lead. The Sixers trailed 92-83 going into fourth after Westbrook and George combined for 24 of the Thunder’s 35 third-quarter points. The Sixers scored 25.

• JJ Redick (leg) and Jerryd Bayless (wrist) were sidelined again. Andre Roberson suffered a season-ending left patellar tendon injury in the Thunder’s previous game.

• Embiid has been told by the Sixers staff he is available to play in Monday’s game against the Bucks, which would be his first career back-to-back, depending on how he feels after this game (see story). Brett Brown said Embiid’s minutes against the Thunder (36) would not be based on the possibility of him playing the next day.

• Richaun Holmes got playing time in a four-five duo alongside Embiid.

Trevor Booker left the game in the second half with right knee discomfort and returned to the bench, available to play.