You might wake up on Thursday and click on a box score, and that box score might be Wednesday night’s Sixers—Lakers game. That game took place in Los Angeles, on the West Coast, and ended around 1 a.m., so many sleepy East Coast residents probably were not awake to see it. You may have been one of those people, or maybe not.
The point is that Joel Embiid is completely unfair, and he became the first player in league history (since blocks started being officially recorded) to post a line of 46 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and seven blocks in one game. He shot 14/20 from the floor and 16/19 from the line. The Sixers won that game 115–109.
That feat deserved its own very small space on this page—it’s a stat line that needs to breathe. Sure, the Lakers mostly shrouded Embiid with Brook Lopez and Julius Randle, but these are things that don’t happen in regular games. It’s increasingly clear that Embiid is not a regular person. Philadelphia is now 8–6 and looking like a team that can, yes, make the playoffs.
It’s been quite the few days in Los Angeles for Embiid, who got the better of DeAndre Jordan earlier in the week and generally smited the Lakers with his nimble footwork and deft touch in what was the best game of his young career. Emphasis on young—it was literally the 43rd NBA game he’s ever played. He was so good that we got this far without talking about Ben Siimmons, who had 18 points, nine rebounds, 10 assists and five steals in his 14th career game.
I legitimately weep for Sam Hinkie, who gets to know that his plan worked while reaping none of the direct benefits. I don’t even want to make a reference to The Process, because it kind of feels like we’re totally past it. It’s tempting to just throw the backstory out and pretend this is a normal, extremely lucky team that drafted intelligently and not one that successfully gamed the system. We might otherwise die of hype.
Anyway, after the game, Embiid announced on national television that he’s playing at 69% percent.
And … maybe that’s the real (fake) stat of the night, not because of Embiid’s charmingly juvenile humor, but because thanks to games like these, you actually kind of believe him.