NBA: Embiid scores 41 as Sixers rout Pacers
NEW YORK – Joel Embiid scored 41 points as the Philadelphia 76ers bagged their 50th win of the season with a crushing 133-120 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday.
The Sixers, who are jostling with the Boston Celtics for the third seeding in the Eastern Conference with one game of the regular season remaining, improved to 50-31 with the win.
Philadelphia can seal third place on Sunday if they beat Detroit at home in their final game of the season and Boston lose their road game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Embiid meanwhile produced another dominant performance that enhanced his claims to the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award, finishing with 20 rebounds and four assists in addition to his 41-point haul.
Embiid however played down his statistical contribution afterwards.
“I’ve always said, I want to dominate, and dominating can show up in different ways,” Embiid said. “Sometimes it’s in the numbers, and sometimes the numbers don’t show it.”
While Embiid said defensively the Sixers “have a long way to go”, he believes the team’s balanced offensive performance on Saturday augurs well for the postseason.
James Harden added 22 points with 14 assists while Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris chipped in with 18 points apiece in a game that the Sixers led from early in the first quarter through to the final buzzer.
“We’re working on what we want to accomplish in the playoffs,” Embiid said. “Making sure everyone is comfortable in the offense and today was an example of that. The ball just moved, found the right guys, everybody got a touch.
“And in the playoffs that’s how we’re going to have to play if we want to succeed.”
Embiid meanwhile said he was uncertain if he would play in Sunday’s final game of the season.
“I want to play but at the same time it’s also a back-to-back and we have to get ready for the playoffs,” Embiid said.
“I’m going to see how I feel. But I want to play. I feel we still need to work on spacing and chemistry, so whatever we can get out of these last few games will be good.”
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