PHILADELPHIA — Joel Embiid may not be the favorite for the MVP but he is proving over and over that he is deserving of the award. The Philadelphia 76ers big man's latest feat is a game-winner to cap off a 39-point game against the Portland Trail Blazers, saving the Sixers from a tough performance.
Down a point with seven seconds left, Embiid got to his spot in the middle of the free-throw line and swished a shot over the outstretched arms of Jusuf Nurkic. That gave the Sixers their only lead of the game and allowed them to take a deep breath. After his tremendous performance, the superstar center didn't mince words.
Joel Embiid fades and HITS IT 😱
He puts the Sixers up by 1 with 1.1 remaining!pic.twitter.com/CJsf7DM3VR
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) March 11, 2023
“I've said it: I think I'm unguardable,” Joel Embiid said. “It's all about using that and trying to make my teammates better. With that comes a lot of doubles and triple teams every single game. So it's about, ‘How do I make my teammates better every game?’ But you know, it's not just about offense. Defensively, we gotta be better. I thought in the fourth quarter we did a better job but that's how we gotta start the game.”
Embiid's game-winning shot and his scoring only tell part of the story of the Sixers' win. Defensively, Philly turned things around and held the Blazers to a poor second-half shooting performance. Embiid added seven rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals to his stat line while shooting 13-20 from the field.
“I'm really just working on my game, honestly. Just seeing what works and what doesn't, trying to be aggressive and also getting my guys involved,” Embiid said. “And like I said, I can be better. You know, I missed a bunch of free throws today and had a couple of turnovers, especially one down the stretch. I can always be better.”
Embiid's desire to always be better is the driving force behind this year's Sixers team showing more bite than in past seasons and why he continues, somehow, to get even better.