Wednesday in Los Angeles, Joel Embiid had a career night. His stat line is awe-inspiring.
The second-year center scored 46 points and had 15 rebounds, seven assists, seven blocks, and made 14-of 20 shots from the field as well as 16-of-19 from the free throw line. It’s worth noting that in a close game, 19 of Embiid’s points came in the fourth quarter.
That’s a career night for 99 percent of NBA players. But for Embiid, it came in career game No. 41.
A statline like Wednesday’s, with 40-plus points and at least 15 rebounds, seven assists and seven blocks was last achieved by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. His stats came with the help of four overtimes. Embiid’s came in 34 minutes.
In all, Embiid has scored 78 points over two nights in Los Angeles against the Clippers and Lakers. That is 24 more points than Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball has total at the Staples Center.
“It feels great,” Embiid said. “I love L.A. I love the Staples Center, so I wanted to come out here and put on a show and I did. Too bad there wasn’t any trash-talker out there. But I still had fun and I got going. I just wanted to be aggressive. That’s my new mentality. I can’t wait to keep the same momentum.”
After Wednesday’s 115-109 win, Embiid took to Twitter and Instagram poking fun at Ball and the lowly Lakers — as has become his style since being drafted in 2014.
I like Lonzo’s game… no shots towards him #TrustIt
— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) November 16, 2017
The incredible performance begs the question. How good can Embiid be?
Even at his worst, Embiid is a sure double-double and a force on defense, effecting the shots of nearly everyone on the floor. Though turnovers and poor shot selection has been a problem in the early going this year, Wednesday’s breakout performance sets a new bar. The Sixers may have gotten a steal by inking the 24-year-old to an extension before this season was in the books, with Philly 8-6 and looking like a playoff contender.
Embiid has played with a minutes restriction through his first 39 games, but earlier this week set a career high playing 36 minutes. It seems as though the incredible output Embiid posted when playing just 22 minutes per game actually can translate to an entire game’s worth of minutes. If healthy, the 7-foot-3 Cameroonian looks like a sure perennial All-Star who has the potential to post 40 points at the drop of a hat.
The rest of the roster has been, and will continue to be build around Embiid — with pass-first 6-foot-10 point goard Ben Simmons and newly extended 3-and-D specialist Robert Covington sure to be here for the long haul.
The future has never been brighter for the Sixers. If you need proof, watch highlights from Wednesday. It’s undeniable.