PHILADELPHIA — Even as the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Dallas Mavericks to snap their losing streak, a lot of the discussion surrounding Joel Embiid was about his decision to sit out against Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets on Monday. The Sixers superstar's calf injury caught up to him after three games in four days and was ruled out, canceling what could have been an epic superstar showdown.
Emdiid played decent against Luka Doncic and the Mavs, scoring 25 points while locking down on defense, and was asked afterward about the MVP race. He reiterated that he doesn't care about winning the award and that his main goal is the championship.
“I don’t care. Like I said, it's all about the playoffs,” Embiid said. “I mean, if one game is gonna hurt anybody's chances, I guess everybody should be out of it — we all have bad games, guys miss matchups. That's not the first time and it's not really a matchup about me and Nikola. He’s a great player, amazing player, back-to-back MVP. He's one of the best players in the league and I’m a huge fan. So, not playing against him was a huge bummer.”
“But there's a bigger goal in sight and that's to make sure we’re healthy for the playoffs,” the Sixers superstar continued. “And like I said, I got nothing to prove. The last matchup we won and I had whatever I had [47 points, 18 rebounds]. To go out there and say that I'm scared after what I did the last time is kind of stupid.”
In January, Embiid launched himself into the MVP debate with a monstrous performance in a comeback win over Jokic and the Nuggets. Jokic didn't get the chance to redeem himself and settled with a monster stat line and a win against a Sixers squad without Embiid or James Harden.
Joel Embiid has one more matchup against an MVP candidate (Giannis Antetokounmpo) during the regular season. But in his eyes, all he sees is a chance to win another game.
“I don't care if I win it or not,” Embiid continued. “I'm just focused on trying to win a championship and whatever happens, happens. If [I] win, great. If I don't win anything, I don't care.”