Joel Embiid Closes Out Boston on Monday Night
As the game clock began to wind down, the Sixers needed a bucket to put the Boston Celtics away on Monday night.
Enter Joel Embiid.
The Sixers dynamic big man, took a pass from Seth Curry and never looked back. Embiid caught just off the left block with 1:25 remaining in the game and the Sixers leading by one and hit a fade-away jumper to give the Sixers a 101-98 advantage.
Boston made it 101-100, but the Sixers went right back to Embiid, same spot, and again Embiid hit a fade-away jumper to extend the Sixers lead back to three with 53-seconds remaining.
However is standout moment came with just under 20-seconds left in the game and the Sixers holding a two-point margin. The team has been looking for someone to hit a closing basket and Embiid delivered. Embiid took a pass from Seth Curry on the left-wing and dribble, staring down Enes Freedom. Marcus Smart came over to double, but Embiid dribbled to the left of the lane to the baseline, took a step-back, fade-away jumper and nailed it with 11.3 seconds left in the game, giving the Sixers a 105-101 lead.
Embiid essentially closed the game out, scoring the final nine points of the game, for a game-high 41 on the night, becoming the closer the Sixers have desperately needed.
"Everyone is needed in these tough times," Embiid said after the game. "I like the challenge. To win if your undermanned, or if you have all your guys, especially on the road, I like."
If there is something the Sixers have lacked, its that late-game, go-to scorer with the game on the line. The Sixers don't have a traditional "scorer", someone who can put the ball on the floor and create their own shot and get a basket, or get to the free-throw line.
Embiid may not be the traditional closer, but he showed on Monday that he can get the job done, putting the team on his back, making three tough shots down the stretch to close Boston out.
"I like to go out there and see if I am good enough to go out there and carry our guys," Embiid said.
On Monday, he was. Now, f he can be that guy moving forward, it would go a long way in helping the Sixers go deeper in the NBA Playoffs.