Mike D’Antoni planned to tire out Joel Embiid in hopes to contain him
Since making his debut for the Philadelphia 76ers last year, Joel Embiid has been on a tear, and giving their opponents a lot of matchup problems. Despite standing at 7-feet, he also has the skill set of a forward, with a decent stroke from the perimeter. With how good he’s been, many coaches are looking for different ways to try and control his production when going up against him and his team.
After Wednesday’s game between the Houston Rockets and Sixers, coach Mike D’Antoni admitted that his plan was to get him tired in order to contain him. He then shared, via Rahul Lal of Rockets Wire, that he instructed both Clint Capela and Tarik Black to run the floor, and make Embiid work hard on both ends.
“I thought he got tired,” said D’Antoni. “We just told [Clint Capela] we need to run him every time because he’s good. The only weapon we have is to run and lean on him, make him work for his shots. Tarik Black came in and put his body on him and that wears you out. Your legs get tired. He’ll get over that as he gets a little older and plays more minutes.”
The ploy did not go as planned for the Rockets as Embiid still finished the game with 21 points, six rebounds, three assists, one steal and two blocks in 24 minutes of action. However, they were fortunate to come out with a victory on the night, with Eric Gordon hitting a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer, concluding in the 105-104 Rockets win.
D’Antoni and his staff may want to change their plan of containing Embiid next time they play against the 76ers. They won’t need to wait long for that though, as both teams are slated to meet again on Monday, Oct. 30 — with the Rockets able to make full use of home court advantage this time.