It's been quite the week for the Philadelphia 76ers as two of their stars exceeded career highs in a span of just a few days. On Monday night against the Utah Jazz, Sixers star Ben Simmons exploded for a career-high of 42 points as he attempted to put the team on his back while his teammate, Joel Embiid, sat out with an injured back.
On Friday night against the Chicago Bulls, the tables turned. For the second-straight game, Ben Simmons sat out as he's dealing with a non-COVID-related illness. Therefore, Embiid had a ton of work to do.
And the big man was up for the challenge. He started the game off hot as he checked in for under nine minutes in the first quarter. During that time, Embiid went five-for-six from the field and totaled for 14 points.
The big man didn't slow down in the second quarter. Embiid got up another eight shots in less than eight minutes and scored 11 points to add to his 25-point first-half total before heading back to the locker room for the intermission.
At that point, it was becoming apparent that the four-time All-Star was in for another fantastic night. While Embiid sometimes slows down the scoring in the second half after a strong first half, Friday was not one of those nights.
After checking in for a little over ten minutes in the third quarter, Embiid shot efficiently from the field as he knocked down five of his six shot attempts for 12 points. With 37 points through three quarters and showing no signs of slowing down, it was clear Embiid was going to flirt with his career-high on Friday night.
Not only did he tie it late in the fourth quarter, but he surpassed it as Embiid picked up his first 50-point performance in the NBA. He wrapped up the game by knocking down 17 of his 26 shots and going 15-for-17 from the free-throw line for 50 points. He also collected 17 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and four blocked shots in the Sixers' 112-105 win over the Chicago Bulls.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_