His Philadelphia 76ers were almost literally run off the court by the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Monday night. When all was said and done, Boston dropped 117 points and shot 48 percent from the field in a 16-point win.
That’s despite the best efforts of one Joel Embiid, who put up a truly stunning stat line. The All-Star center scored 31 points, nabbed 13 rebounds and dished out five assists. This put him in some rather elite company.
Joel Embiid is the first player to have 30+ points, 10+ rebounds and 5+ assists in a playoff game in his first or second NBA season since Charles Barkley in 1986, also for the #Sixers https://t.co/q99x4sFzPZ pic.twitter.com/EPOqkUp2ci
— Basketball Reference (@bball_ref) May 1, 2018
Interestingly, Charles Barkley was a member of the Sixers when he accomplished that feat back in 1986 — a good eight years before Embiid himself was even born.
In a playoff slate that has seen teammate Ben Simmons reach impressive benchmarks, it’s nice to see Embiid doing his thing. Though, it certainly didn’t translate to team-wide success. Embiid knows this full well.
“It starts on defense. I thought I was s**tty. I thought we were all bad tonight,” an obviously frustrated Embiid said following the loss, via ESPN.
Boston has no real defensive match to go up against Embiid. Should he continue to perform like we saw in Game 1, Philadelphia will be just fine. It’s now all about putting things together on defense.