June 4, 2023

Joel Embiid explodes for 50-point blitz in NBA night of individual brilliance

The star center shot 17 of 23 from the floor and 15 of 17 from the free throw line, adding 12 rebounds and two assists during an imperious display in front of his home fans at the Wells Fargo Center.

A four-time NBA All-Star, Embiid has incredibly only scored less than 30 points once this January — a 25-point outing in a Sixers victory over the Boston Celtics.

His 27-minute-three-second frenzy was the fewest minutes played in a 50-point, 10-rebound game since 1954-55 — the dawn of the shot-clock era — according to ESPN Stats and Info.

Mo Bamba posted a career-high 32 points for the floundering Magic — rooted bottom of the Eastern Conference with an NBA-worst 8-38 season record — but was powerless to stop Embiid and the Sixers from rising to 26-18.

Embiid goes up for a dunk during the first half.Embiid goes up for a dunk during the first half.

“I was a fan, it was amazing to watch,” teammate Tyrese Maxey said to reporters on Embiid’s performance.

“At this point, I don’t get surprised. I was sitting on the bench next to Charlie [Brown Jr.] and Myles [Powell] and they were like, ‘That man got 20 in the first quarter, he may score 50,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, he probably will.’

“I just saw the look in his eyes — he just looked locked in and ready to go from the tip. He’s the MVP candidate for a reason.”

Sixers head coach Doc Rivers was similarly flattering towards his “unbelievable” star, labeling his showing “dominant in every way.”

For the man of the moment, it was part of his goal to be the world’s best player.

“I’m trying to play at the best level possible I can, and that’s being the best player in the world,” Embiid said.

“For us to win, I have to be that guy every single night.”

Jokić and Dončić erupt

Had it not been for Embiid’s superhuman display, any other night the headlines may well have gone to Nikola Jokić or Luka Dončić on a night of individual brilliance in the NBA.

Jokić rattled off 49 points — one short of a career-high haul — as well as 14 rebounds and 10 assists to help drag the Denver Nuggets (23-20) to a thrilling 130-128 overtime victory against the Los Angeles Clippers (22-24).

The Serb assisted Aaron Gordon for a game-winning three-pointer with just 1.9 seconds remaining to complete his third straight triple-double.

Jokic is defended by Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac during overtime.Jokic is defended by Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac during overtime.

“Sometimes, you see a great player will his team to a win,” Nuggets head coach Michael Malone told reporters.

“That’s just why Nikola is again for me the MVP, he’s gonna give it to you every way and it’s so much fun watching him.

“When he gets excited and he’s banging his chest and he’s screaming — man, I love that, I love to see an engaged, emotional Nikola Jokic.”

Meanwhile, Dončić scored a season-best 41 points to fire the Dallas Mavericks (26-19) to their fourth consecutive win with a 102-98 victory over the Toronto Raptors (21-21).

Doncic drives to the basket as Raptors forward OG Anunoby defends.Doncic drives to the basket as Raptors forward OG Anunoby defends.

The Slovenian added 14 rebounds and seven assists, firing a pivotal late three-pointer to seal the Mavericks’ ninth win in their last ten games — the best form of any team in the NBA over the same period.

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