Multiple Sixers shined in their blowout win over the Wizards on Saturday, but the MVP of the night was Joel Embiid. The All-Star center continues to be a nightmare for the Wizards' frontcourt in this series.
Embiid reminded everyone why he was a frontrunner for the MVP award for the majority of this season. His performance Saturday was the latest of the long list of dominant showings this year.
In just 28 minutes on the floor, he posted a new playoff career-high in points, finishing with 36 points on just 18 shot attempts. Embiid was looking forward to playing in front of an away crowd and made the most of the opportunity.
Teammates applauded Embiid's dominant performance during their postgame media availability. Ben Simmons credits the growth of Embiid's basketball IQ as being a catalyst for his improvement as a player this season.
"He sees that double, and he's not always looking to score. I think that's the one thing. He's able to find the guys that are open and make plays doing that. It's tough for teams to do that every time, sending that double team because he's getting better at passing out of the post," said Simmons.
Tobias Harris later echoed most of Simmons' points. Also mentioning Embiid's greater understanding of the game this season.
"He's really picking apart teams' defenses in a great way. He's just a really tough cover. Even when teams double-team him, he's able to make shots with two guys on him. His playmaking ability out of the post is the reason why he's so dominant because teams have to choose what they want to do and what they have to give up," Harris said postgame.
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This growth in awareness is something Embiid has brought up at different times throughout the year. Admitting that the game feels much slower to him this year compared to previous seasons.
While his own game has taken great strides, it's the situation around him that has aided Embiid's growth as well. Doc Rivers has done a great job this season moving Embiid all over the floor to better combat double teams.
The addition of outside shooting is also a huge help. Not only has Embiid improved passing out of double teams, but he has two 40% three-point shooters on the floor with him in Danny Green and Seth Curry.
It is still early in the postseason, but Embiid has shown he can adapt through a series. His ability to see what a defense is giving him and respond accordingly will make him extremely tough to defend as the postseason progresses.
Kevin McCormick covers the Philadelphia 76ers for South Jersey's 97.3 ESPN and Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCNBA.