76ers

Ranking Joel Embiid's 8 best games

Ranking Joel Embiid's 8 best games

About a month ago, a smiling, dancing, preening Joel Embiid scored a career-high 49 points in the Sixers’ win over the Hawks at Wells Fargo Center.

That game, which will re-air tonight at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia, obviously features among the eight best performances of Embiid’s career to this point. Statistics matter a good deal in our countdown, but we also tried to factor in opponent, clutch contributions and overall importance to the Sixers. 

8. Jan. 2, 2019 vs. Suns 

With starters Jimmy Butler and Wilson Chandler out because of an upper respiratory infection, this was an odd game in Phoenix. Demetrius Jackson, then on a two-way contract with the Sixers, converted an alley-oop and two three-pointers. The team almost squandered a 30-point lead.

Embiid had 30 points and 14 rebounds — in the first half. He finished with 42 and 18, dominating Deandre Ayton and Richaun Holmes. 

7. March 17, 2019 at Bucks 

Embiid only shot 4 of 13 from three-point range and Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a career-high 52 points, but this was a superstar kind of performance. 

He was the Sixers’ best player against the team with the best record in the NBA, posting 40 points, 15 rebounds, six assists and three steals. The win officially clinched the Sixers a playoff spot

6. Nov. 9, 2018 vs. Hornets

With the Sixers down three points, less than 40 seconds left and a second-half collapse almost complete, Embiid had the ball at the top of the key against 6-foot Kemba Walker. 

Instead of looking to use his extreme size advantage, he pump faked, stepped back to make sure his feet were behind the three-point line and nailed a game-tying jumper.

Twenty-one of his 42 points came in the fourth quarter and overtime. He added 18 rebounds, four blocks and four assists, too. 

5. Dec. 12, 2019 at Celtics

After hearing blunt criticism from NBA on TNT’s Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal, Embiid went for 38 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in Boston.

There was zero room to question his level of engagement or wonder whether he was too focused on saving himself for the playoffs. 

“He was a beast — dominant,” Mike Scott told reporters. “Just took advantage of anyone guarding him. That’s how he should play all the time.” 

4. March 20, 2019 vs. Celtics

With the Celtics leading by 11 early in the third quarter, Marcus Smart lost his composure. He shoved Embiid to the ground after taking exception to the big man elbowing him on an off-ball screen, earning an ejection. 

The incident seemed to rejuvenate the Sixers and Embiid, who went on to score 15 points in the third period, 37 in the game, and also grabbed 22 rebounds. Along with the Smart altercation, his block on Kyrie Irving late in the fourth quarter was a memorable moment. 

3. Feb. 24, 2020 vs. Hawks

The competition wasn’t great, but this might be the most “in the zone” we’ve seen Embiid. As is the case with most of these performances, he was highly efficient, requiring just 24 field-goal attempts to reach his career high.

There was a bit of adversity as the Hawks won the third quarter by 18 points and held a one-point lead heading into the fourth. Embiid was decisive against Atlanta’s double teams all night, and he rarely made the wrong read. It just seemed like a game he wasn’t going to allow the Sixers to lose, and by the end of it the only thing anyone was worried about was how many points he had. (To be fair, things might have felt different if this one took place in Atlanta …) 

2. Nov. 15, 2017 at Lakers 

The numbers from this performance are staggering — 46 points (14 for 20 shooting), 15 rebounds, seven assists and seven blocks. The way Embiid reached those statistics was equally impressive.

He had so much variety in the post — raw strength, face-up jumpers, Dream Shakes and agile footwork — so much all-around skill, and so much potential. 

1. April 20, 2019 at Nets

Listed as doubtful prior to Game 4 of the Sixers’ first-round series in Brooklyn with the left knee tendinitis that had sidelined him for Game 3, Embiid suited up and was tremendous.

Jared Dudley seemingly wanted to be the primary storyline in this game. The veteran forward continued his series-long spat with Ben Simmons, and he also sprinted in after an Embiid foul on Jarrett Allen (deemed a Flagrant 1) to instigate a scuffle that spilled into the crowd. Both Dudley and Butler were ejected.

Embiid, who had 31 points, 16 rebounds, six blocks and seven assists — including the feed on which Mike Scott “cashed out” for the game-winner — walked away from the incident with both hands up, unimpressed by Dudley.

“First of all, he’s a nobody,” he told TNT’s Ros Gold-Onwude. “I’m too valuable for my team. That’s why I didn’t react. … My teammates need me more than [the Nets] need him.” 



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Sixers' Tobias Harris joins protest in Philadelphia after death of George Floyd

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@tobiasharris on Instagram

Sixers' Tobias Harris joins protest in Philadelphia after death of George Floyd

Sixers forward Tobias Harris was among those protesting in Philadelphia on Saturday after the death of George Floyd in Minnesota earlier this week.

Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed by Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin on Monday when Chauvin knelt on his neck. The incident was recorded on video and has sparked protests against racial injustice and police brutality around the country. Chauvin was fired and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The other officers on the scene, Tou Thao, J Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, were fired but have not been charged.

Harris showed himself on social media with the crowd protesting around City Hall and the Museum of Art. Teammate Mike Scott was “there in spirit.”

Scott on Friday had voiced his disagreement with an Associated Press tweet on Chauvin’s arrest that didn’t directly characterize Chauvin’s actions as murder. 

Other prominent figures within the Sixers and NBA have also spoken out in recent days. In a series of tweets Friday night, Ben Simmons advocated for “calling out the uncomfortable subject of blatant racism that exists heavily within our society.” 

Josh Richardson on Friday had responded to tweets by President Donald Trump in which Trump referred to protestors as “thugs,” raised the possibility of bringing the National Guard into Minnesota to “get the job done right” and threatened “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

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Sixers Talk podcast: Latest on an NBA return; remembering 1983 Finals

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Sixers Talk podcast: Latest on an NBA return; remembering 1983 Finals

On this edition of the Sixers Talk podcast, we discuss many reported scenarios for a return to play for the NBA and remember the 1982-83 Sixers. 

(0:27) — Introducing the newest member of the Sixers Talk podcast, Ben Berry.
(2:45) — We are close to having NBA basketball returning.
(19:34) — Remembering Game 1 of the 1983 NBA Finals and how the league has changed since.

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