Joel Embiid continued to make his case for the MVP award Wednesday night against the Phoenix Suns, as he scored at least 40 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the fourth time this season.
Embiid tied his season-high of 42 points in the Philadelphia 76ers’ 132-127 road win over the Suns. He also totaled 18 rebounds, tallied three steals and got two blocks.
With that stat line, Embiid is the first Sixers player to have those totals since blocks and steals were first kept in the 1973-74 season, per Elias Sports Bureau. Dwight Howard, Chris Webber and Hakeem Olajuwon are the only other players to accomplish the feat in the past 25 seasons.
Embiid’s MVP-caliber season has been predicated on his elite play in the post – his performance against the Suns was nothing new. He shot 12-of-23 from the field, but more importantly, he shot 19 free throws.
As he used his 7-foot, 249-pound frame, Embiid forced defenders to foul him inside. He wasn’t the only Sixers player getting to the free throw line, either. The Sixers shot a season-high 54 free throws and made 41 of them.
What Embiid has done this season is shown that he’s arguably the top center in the league. When he was out with left knee soreness against the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday, the Sixers had one of their worst losses of the season, a 129-95 defeat. They missed Embiid’s scoring – Ben Simmons led the team with 19 points.
But they also missed his rebounding and defense. The Sixers were outrebounded 59-36, and four Trail Blazers scored in double figures.
Embiid’s impressive performance just adds to what has been the best season of his career, as he’s among one of many MVP candidates such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis.