Even MVP candidates have rough nights.
Unfortunately, it was one of those evenings for Joel Embiid in Toronto. The Sixers’ four-game winning streak was snapped in a turnover-ridden 113-102 loss to the Raptors Wednesday (see story). The All-Star center was just 5 of 17 from the floor and matched a season-low with 10 points.
To pour more salt in the wound, Raptors starting center Serge Ibaka (18 points on 7 of 13) and backup five Jonas Valancunias (26 points on 9 of 13) both got the better of Embiid.
On many nights, Embiid is the best player on the floor. Just about every night, he’s the best big on the floor. That wasn’t the case Wednesday
After the game, Embiid was his usual blunt self in assessing his play to reporters after the game.
We turned the ball over a lot and we gave up a lot of offensive rebounds and I sucked …
I wasn’t making anything. In fact, the last few games I’ve been so trash so I’ve got to figure that part out if I want to help the team win some games.
It may be a bit of an overreaction from Embiid, who sounded dejected postgame.
Embiid leads the league, taking 10.4 free throws a game. Wednesday, he took one trip to the line and missed both shots. Clearly, he was frustrated, picking up a technical in the fourth.
Coming into tonight, Embiid was averaging 27 points, 13.4 rebounds and two blocks a game. He’ll be in historic company if he finishes around those numbers.
He’s put the league on notice. With that, comes extra attention on the floor.
“They did a good job of going at him — double-teaming him,” Brett Brown said. “They did a good job of pushing him off the block probably two or three more feet farther than we’d hope. They did a good job of pressuring him in general.
“That’s part of it: He’s that good. He is having a year that warrants high-level accolade discussion, but tonight was just a down night for him and I got to help him.”
To an extent, Wednesday was just one of 82 games.
Then again, Embiid has really struggled over his last three games from the field. He’s shot just 33 percent (14 of 42) over that span.
His numbers are slightly down since the arrival of Jimmy Butler. Embiid contributes some of his recent struggles to adjusting to Butler, but Embiid takes responsibility for his current shooting woes.
“It’s hard,” Embiid said. “I’m trying to figure it out. My place on the floor. Sometimes I’ve got to space the floor. A lot of times with the way our plays are set up I tend to spend a lot of time on the perimeter. That’s just an adjustment we got to make with the coaches. Figure out how to keep me down low. I don’t know … changing the plays or whatever.
“I got to do a better job. It’s on me. I haven’t been efficient and got to make sure I work on my game.”
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