76ers’ Joel Embiid Does ‘Bill Russell’ Impression in Win Over Grizzlies
Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid helped lead his team to a win over the Memphis Grizzlies in what proved to be a very chippy game, and Embiid did his best “Bill Russell” impression during the comeback victory.
Embiid struggled on the offensive end of the court during the first half of the game, but his defense remained stout until his offense eventually came to life and spark the Sixers comeback from a 17-point deficit to take a 110-15 victory at home.
Embiid finished with 27 points, 19 rebounds, 6 assists, a steal and 6 blocks in 38 minutes in a very Russell-type performance.
“Every single night I try to be as good of a defender as I can,” Embiid said, according to ESPN’s Tim Botemps. “But I think there’s a pattern with myself where if you look at most of the games where I have bad shooting nights, I just can’t make the shots that I usually do. I go from having a good defensive game to having an amazing defensive game. That’s part of it. When you’re not contributing offensively, you’ve got to find a way, making your teammates better. So defensively, just being a monster. It was a little bit more of a focus on that end tonight.”
Embiid and James Harden took apart the Grizzlies defense in the second half, particularly during the fourth quarter.
“That’s a part of it,” Harden said. “As much as you don’t want it to happen, it’s part of basketball, not making shots. We were resilient, and we fought and fought and fought and gave ourselves a chance.”
As the Sixers head down the stretch run of the season, Embiid’s health will be crucial to their playoff success.
“I felt pretty good,” Embiid said. “Like I said before the [All-Star break], whatever it is is all about rest, and I’ve had a couple [days off]. There’s a reason why I wasn’t part of [All-Star] Saturday, because I wanted to make sure I could get more rest.
“This is about trying to get as much rest as possible. It would have been nice to get actually two weeks off, but it’s the [middle of the] season and you can’t have that, so you have to come back and keep going. Next time it comes along, take some time off and keep doing the same thing.”