Sixers star Joel Embiid continued his dominant season on Sunday night, scoring 44 points while adding 17 rebounds and five blocks in a 112–108 victory over Cleveland.
Embiid now has 11 games with at least 40 points and 10 rebounds this season. According to ESPN, the only players with more 40-10 games in a season since the NBA/ABA merger are Russell Westbrook, who had 12 in 2016-17 and Moses Malone, who had 12 in 1981-82.
Westbrook and Malone won MVP in their respective seasons.
Embiid has been seen as one of the top contenders for MVP throughout the season, but he’s neck-and-neck with Nuggets star Nikola Jokić for the award. Jokić remains the betting favorite to win MVP with multiple sportsbooks, but Embiid has the second shortest odds for the award.
After his latest performance, Embiid isn’t sure what else he has to do to prove that he’s the MVP.
“If it happens, great. If it doesn’t, I don’t know what I have to do. I’ll feel like they hate me. I feel like the standard for guys in Philly or for me is different than anyone else,” Embiid told the media on Sunday night.
James Harden made his pitch for Embiid after his latest offensive outburst.
“I get to witness his greatness every night,” Harden said. “Obviously, his offensive numbers tonight are self-explanatory. Defensively, he was very active blocking shots, changing shots and clogging the paint up was key.”
Embiid has four games remaining to state his case as the league’s best player. At 48–30, Philadelphia is the No. 4 seed in the East heading into the final week of the season.
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