PHILADELPHIA — Joel Embiid knew what was at stake against fellow superstar center Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nugget. The Philadelphia 76ers superstar put up a monster performance against Jokic, rising to the occasion in one of the Sixers’ best victories of the season.
In the Sixers’ comeback win over the Nuggets, in which they trailed by 15 at halftime, Embiid thoroughly outplayed Jokic. He tallied 47 points on 18-31 shooting, a season-high 18 rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks. Down the stretch, he provided some huge defensive plays and shots for Philly, including a dagger triple off the bounce right over Jokic and a highlight-reel reverse jam.
JOEL EMBIID DAGGER OVER NIKOLA JOKIC 🗡️pic.twitter.com/xKuuYYwmjw
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) January 28, 2023
“It’s fun,” Embiid said when asked about taking the shot in clutch situations. “I’ve always liked to think that I’m a closer and I am. But it’s fun taking the last shots or taking the last-second shots…I like that challenge. I like getting into the fourth quarter, getting into those type of possessions where you got to go out and make the plays. Whether it’s offensively or defensively, that’s where you find out who’s who — who’s made up for those type of moments.
“For me, I’ve always seen the regular season as — no disrespect — as a practice for me to be able to try as many moves as possible just to see what works so when you get to the playoffs, you’re just ready for anything,” the Sixers big man continued. “You’ve seen everything, you’ve used everything and you know what works and what doesn’t. Then, you go from there.”
Although Joel Embiid wouldn’t admit that the last two games — where he faced former co-star Ben Simmons and the player many fans and media members say is better than him — were anything personal, he played like it. Unlike in the Sixers’ win over Simmons and the Brooklyn Nets, Embiid was undoubtedly the best player on the court in this one.