On Tuesday night, the Philadelphia 76ers welcomed the Boston Celtics to Wells Fargo Center for their final meeting of the regular season. Despite both Jaylen Brown and Robert Williams III sitting out because of injury, Boston kept the game competitive and even held a lead with fewer than five minutes remaining. But the Celtics couldn’t nab the shorthanded road victory, largely because of an absolutely dominant performance from Joel Embiid, who tallied 52 points (20-for-25 shooting), 13 rebounds, six assists, and two blocks.
While the rest of his Sixers teammates struggled much of the game, he torched Boston’s flurry of ill-equipped big men with both scoring and passing. After the narrow 103-101 win, Philadelphia head coach Doc Rivers made quite clear as to how he believes Embiid’s outing should impact the MVP race, which appears rather close among Embiid, Nikola Jokic, and Giannis Antetokounmpo heading into the final few days of the regular season.
“There’s so many things that we did wrong. But we did right was Joel Embiid,” Rivers said. “The MVP race is over. … The man just scored half our points in an NBA game. And I’m biased, but the MVP race is over.”
Staring down a second consecutive scoring title, Embiid’s now notched at least 50 points in three games this year. He’ll get a chance for an encore when the Sixers face the Miami Heat on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., another game that will be broadcast on TNT.