The Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks seem to always have heated battles whenever these two teams are matched up against each other. And Joel Embiid seems to not have forgotten the Hawks’ triumph over his Sixers during the 2021 NBA playoffs, as he seems to always have an added motivation whenever he goes up against Atlanta.

Surely enough, Embiid torched the Hawks yet again. After a 42-point, 10-rebound performance against them on November 12, Embiid dropped yet another huge performance, tallying 30 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists in only his first game back following a four-game absence to lead the Sixers to a 104-101 victory over the Hawks.

Justifiably, James Harden gushed over his Sixers teammate Joel Embiid, echoing what millions of Sixers fans around the world think of their star center in the process.

“Yeah Joel!” Harden wrote on his official Twitter account to celebrate the Sixers’ victory.

Embiid, simply put, carried the Sixers over the finish line. After the Hawks took a 96-93 lead with 4:02 left in the payoff period, Embiid took over, scoring the Sixers’ last eleven points which proved to be good enough to claim the victory. There was a bit of a scare in the end after the five-time All-Star missed a free throw that would have put the game to rest, but the Hawks had no timeouts and Trae Young had to heave up a prayer from the backcourt that came up short.

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On the season, Joel Embiid is averaging 32.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 13 games, proving himself every bit worthy of James Harden’s decision to take a massive paycut. After an uneven start to the season, the Sixers are now 12-9; it may only get better for the Sixers from here, with Harden inching closer to a return from a foot injury. Moreover, Tyrese Maxey’s eventual return should make Embiid’s life even less difficult.

Nonetheless, the Sixers’ hopes and dreams of contending for a championship will still hinge on Embiid and his ability to stay healthy. But if his performances over the past weeks are any indication, then the Sixers should be one of the teams to beat come season’s end.