PHILADELPHIA — Joel Embiid has erased just about all doubt that the 2022-23 MVP award will go to someone else. The Philadelphia 76ers big man eviscerated the Boston Celtics on national television, stamping his name as the MVP favorite with just a handful of games left. In a season full of statement games, the Sixers’ big man dropped perhaps his biggest one yet.
Embiid’s incredible, 52-point game helped the Sixers pick up a much-needed win. Had he been a fraction less effective, this one could have easily been a loss. But with the big man hitting 12-to-16-foot jumpers like clockwork and getting right to the hoop with swift moves, Philly had enough to steal a win against its rival. Doc Rivers declared the MVP race over and James Harden backed him up.
“They’re probably right but we got bigger goals in mind,” Embiid said of the MVP love. “We understand we got a chance but it’s not gonna be easy.”
At this point, the MVP noise is far too loud to block out for Embiid. The Sixers’ superstar won’t say it matters a lot to him but he leaves enough evidence to show that it is on his mind, at least in some capacity. But at the same time, he is also always focusing on what the team can do better.
“Tonight for me, he was kind of disappointing because we [tried to] find so many ways to lose a game tonight,” Embiid said. “And that’s all of us. I’m part of it, could have been better. I had a couple dumb plays: over-helping and giving up two threes in the corner, the offensive foul on the flop and the turnovers. So, I could have been better. We could have been better as a team, like I said. We got big goals in mind but we got to be better than that.”
Joel Embiid has put up stats this season that match those of legends like Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O’Neal and the Sixers are one of the best teams in the league. It’s an ironclad MVP case that should beat out the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic.
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