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The Philadelphia 76ers inserted themselves into the top three in the Eastern Conference by picking up a win over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night. Despite the black cloud that's hovered over this team from the beginning of the offseason, the Sixers are still finding a way to thrive with a 30-19 record.

A lot of Philadelphia's success has to do with the dominance of their superstar center Joel Embiid. Ever since he's stepped foot on the court to compete for the Sixers, Embiid has been a problem for the opposition. These days, though, he's regarded as one of the best players in the game.

Coming off of an MVP-caliber season, Embiid is playing even better this season. In 38 games, he's averaged 29 points, ten rebounds, and 4.4 assists. He's draining 50-percent of his shots from the field and hitting on 37-percent of his threes.

Every opponent that faces the Sixers knows what they are getting into when it comes to Embiid on a nightly basis. When they come out of the game, they typically have nothing but praise for the five-time All-Star as he continues to dominate despite garnering the most attention on the court.

The Kings React

Against Sacramento, Embiid was issued with a stiff challenge. While the Kings don't have an All-Star caliber big man to counter Philly's dominance at the position, Sacramento sent double and sometimes triple teams at Embiid. 

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In the first half, the Kings found success as they held Embiid to just 12 points on 1-5 shooting from the field in 16 minutes of action. In the second half, though, the Sixers made adjustments and found a way to unleash the MVP candidate.

"They doubled me and tripled me all over the floor when I was in the post or at the free-throw line," Embiid explained after the game. "They just kept coming and coming and coming. So I think the difference in the second half was just getting into different positions and then also attacking off the dribble. I thought as a team, we did a good job of executing and getting stops. And offensively just executing. And they gave me a lot of space to do what I do best."

In the second half, Embiid collected 24 points in 18 minutes. He finished the night with 36 points on 10-18 shooting in 34 minutes. Embiid's resurgence in the second half helped the Sixers pick up a 103-101 win. After the game, Sacramento head coach Alvin Gentry actually believed his team had a successful outing against Embiid specifically, which goes to show just how dominant he's been.

"We played a really good basketball team tonight with a guy that's pretty much unstoppable," said Gentry. "We held him to 36, and that's below his average, so I don't know if anything else needs to be said other than that. He's a little bit of everything. He's part Shaq, part Olajuwon. One part, you know, whatever you want to say. He's just a tremendous player, and he came back."

Gentry got a good idea of Embiid's dominance watching from the sidelines, but Sacramento center Damian Jones experienced guarding Embiid first-hand. Unsurprisingly, Jones acknowledged he had his hands full with that matchup on Saturday.

"He's a tough guard," said Jones after the game. "I mean, he does a lot of things well. He scores the ball well, and you've gotta try to figure out a way to guard him without fouling because he draws fouls well. So, that and we fought ourselves back in the game. We had the lead, and we lost it. We fought our way back and had a chance to win, but we came up short."

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.