No Ben Simmons? No problem. Joel Embiid torched the Chicago Bulls for a career-high 50 points to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to their 20th win of the season.
No one on Chicago could stop Embiid, who hauled down 17 rebounds in a 112-105 victory. The 50 points helped, but Embiid sealed the win with a big defensive play. With the Bulls down four points with under a minute remaining, Embiid blocked Zach LaVine’s shot in a key defensive stop.
Embiid became the first member of the Sixers to drop 50 points in a game since Allen Iverson’s 50-point night back in 2005.
“I’ve been adding a lot to my game and it’s been working well,” said Embiid.
Embiid, ranked #4 in NBA scoring, averages 29.7 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. He has the second-best PER rating at 30.82. He was recently named as a starter in the upcoming NBA All-Star game.
“I’m focused on winning a championship and getting to the playoffs healthy,” said Embiid, who hinted he might sit out the All-Star Game. “That’s my main focus. We got a long season. I missed a couple of games after the fall against the Lakers. So, we’ll see how I feel.”
Embiid and his MVP odds remain steady at +600, but he’s trailing front runner LeBron James at +125 odds, according to an update by the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas.
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) February 20, 2021
The Night Embiid Dropped 50
Simmons missed the game with the old-school flu and not COVID-19 related. Rivers started Matisse Thybulle in place of Simmons, but Embiid took over the game from the opening tip. That’s what MVP-level players do, they take control of the game and set the tone from the onset.
Embiid shot 17-for-26 from the floor and knocked down 15-of-17 free throws. He also added a single 3-pointer.
By the time the game ended, Embiid had checks in every box on the scorecard with 50 points, 17 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 blocks, and 2 steals in 35 minutes of action.
Embiid etched his names in the history books along side Wilt Chamberlain as the only member of the Sixers with 50 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 assists in a game. He’s the first player to achieve the 50/15/5 feat since Chris Webber’s monster game back in 2001.
“Someday, I’m going to tell my kids and grandkids about tonight, ” said Embiid.
“It really just feels like Embiid’s unstoppable,” said Thybulle. “You start to think that maybe there’s no answer for him.”
The few fans inside the Wells Fargo Center showered Embiid with boisterous chants of “M-V-P! M-V-P! M-V-P!”
“It’s good to have him on our side,” head coach Doc Rivers joked with beat reporters.
In February, Embiid has just one game in which he did not score at least 31 points. He averages 32.9 ppg and shooting 54% from the floor.
Embiid eclipsed his previous season high of 45 points against the Miami Heat in an overtime victory in January.
On a wild Friday in the NBA, Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray also scored 50 points and joined Embiid as the league’s top scorers for the night.
Sixers 13-2 in Philly
For a second season in a row, teams dread a trip to the City of Brotherly Love because the 76ers are near impossible to beat at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers were 31-4 at home last season and they lost just two games in Philly this season. The Sixers and Utah Jazz share the best home record in the NBA at 13-2.
If you’re looking for the Sixers’ version of kryptonite, send them on the road. The Sixers are only 7-9 away from Philly this season. The Sixers went 1-3 on a recent road trip to the West Coast. They beat the Sacramento Kings, but lost three in a row against the Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, and the Utah Jazz.
Since returning to Philly, the Sixers won two in a row. Even without Simmons on Friday, Embiid made sure the Sixers continued their winning ways on their home court.
They hit the road for a back-to-back in Tampa Bay against the Toronto Raptors. The Sixers close out the first half of the season with four home games against the Dallas Mavericks, Cleveland Cavs, Indiana Pacers, and a highly-anticipated rematch against the Utah Jazz.
Check out more stories and videos of high-scoring performances with our series called NBA High Guys.