For 14 minutes Wednesday night, the Sixers were the most exciting team in the NBA.
NBC Sports Philly, which had no plans to televise the Sixers and Nets preseason duel on Long Island, quickly scraped together their broadcast team in their South Philly studio to call the game remotely.
Basketball fans from across the country clung to Twitter to follow the game along in real time.
All of this, because Joel Embiid was playing.
In just 14 minutes of game action the 7-foot-2 behemoth tallied 22 points, seven rebounds and a devestating blocked shot. In 36 minutes, that rate is 57 points and 18 boards.
Embiid changed every single play he was on the floor for. His agility and adept foot work flashing dream shakes and turnaround jumpers. His shooting touch from midrange and downtown on display — particularly on a 32 foot three he made that didn’t count due to a time out. He got rebounds. He dove on the floor. He got to the free throw line a ridiculious 18 times making 14. It was everything you could have wanted.
The hyperbole grew. All over Twitter and social media, fans and sportswriters were saying the Sixers got it right. Two days prior, with Embiid’s injury-prognosis looking grim, Philly stepped up signing the 23-year-old to a five-year contract extension worth $148 million. Then he was upgraded to probable. And then he actually played.
Joel Embiid just fell over, and from my couch, I gasped — damn near shrieked. Can you imagine working/playing for the Sixers?
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) October 12, 2017
Joel Embiid and Dario Saric both scored over 20 points tonight. Meanwhile, ROY Malcolm Brogdon set a pick and had great off-ball movement.
— Jeff McMenamin (@SixersBlog) October 12, 2017
Joel Embiid is back: ‘They can’t f-ing guard me’ #Sixers
— Billy Penn (@billy_penn) October 12, 2017
Was it all a ploy from Embiid’s camp to get his deal done? Will Embiid be healthy and ready to play this season?
Ben Simmons, J.J. Redick and Dario Saric each had impressive performances themselves in the 19-point thumping. The future has never looked brighter for the Sixers. The regular season starts in less than a week, an ESPN 7 p.m. start in Washington on Wednesday October 18. Is the Process working? We’re finally close to being able to answer that question.