PHILADELPHIA — Joel Embiid recorded just one blocked shot in the Philadelphia 76ers' win over the Orlando Magic. That’s a mark he has surpassed in nearly half of his games this season. However, the big man still may have given the Sixers one of his best defensive performances.

The Sixers defeated the Magic soundly behind Embiid's 32 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. He was stellar on offense, drawing two defenders and hitting his teammates with precise passes while scoring at a high rate. But it was the other end of the court where he really shined.

The Magic shot a not-so-great 25-37 on shots at the rim and a woeful 5-19 on all other shots in the paint. A lot of that was because Embiid was there to contest shots. His only block of the game came on a Jalen Suggs dunk attempt. Aside from that, his impact was seen in how Orlando players rushed and/or missed shot attempts when Embiid was closing in on him

Having a stanch rim protector like Embiid can empower the defenders around him to gamble and be extra aggressive. De'Anthony Melton explained last season how Embiid's security allows him to defend more freely. Kelly Oubre Jr. echoed the sentiment after the 76ers' win over the Magic.

“It's everything, man,” Oubre said. “It's just not even about him getting stops, it's about the energy he brings on defense. Like, he actually tries. We came into the year with a scheme of,Jo's gonna be in the paint and Jo's gonna help each and every person and do your best to guard the ball but he'll be at the rim,’ right? And he's doing a great job. He even took a charge tonight. So I think that got us really going 'cause that's something. [For a] seven-foot guy, it's not normal. So he's actually trying, he wants to win.”

Oubre said that reacclimating to that defensive strategy after missing Embiid for so long has been a “seamless” process because his absence forced everyone else to get better. The 76ers wing said that they guard the ball better now, which allows the team to “lock in on the game plan of guarding the ball and being directional and being disciplined on defense.”

One on-ball defensive performance that received praise was that of Tobias Harris, who matched up with All-Star Paolo Banchero. The Magic star shot just 7-24 from the field. Harris used his size to counteract that of the big, athletic forward on the other side.

Nick Nurse said that Harris' defense on Banchero was “awesome.” He pointed to how Harris made him take tough shots and that his overall deficiency as a scorer was the result.

As the regular season comes to a close, Embiid will be looking to make sure his left knee is all good after an injury scare. Regardless of what level of the postseason the 76ers have to work through, they’ll rely on Embiid being a monstrous defender in the paint.