Rarely, if ever, will an opposing team shut Joel Embiid down. But when you play the Philadelphia 76ers, finding a way to limit Embiid’s output is important. But knowing what you need to do and actually doing it are two different things. On Friday, the Los Angeles Lakers became the latest team to learn that lesson.
With 17 points on 7-for-8 shooting and 2-for-3 on three-pointers, Embiid was already having a big opening quarter. That quarter got even bigger when he nailed a three-pointer just before time expired.
Joel Embiid sinks a three at the end of the first quarter, giving him 20 points in just one quarterpic.twitter.com/DllxeiyiKb
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) December 10, 2022
The three not only gave Embiid a 20-point opening quarter but also meant that he matched Los Angeles’ entire scoring output for the game’s first 12 minutes.
20 — Lakers
20 — Joel Embiid pic.twitter.com/8Ccyn6stId
— StatMuse (@statmuse) December 10, 2022
And it wasn’t just a matter of scoring a lot of points. The Lakers couldn’t get anything going offensively against Embiid. He kept everyone he was defending — including, most notably LeBron James — in check.
Joel Embiid got it done on both ends in the first quarter tonight.
Embiid made seven of his eight field goal attempts with Anthony Davis or Thomas Bryant as his primary defender. He held the Lakers to 2-of-9 shooting as the primary defender (LeBron James 1-of-6). pic.twitter.com/71IGnqOq16
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 10, 2022
Basketball fans marveled at the fantastic performance from the MVP candidate.
This how I play MyCareer https://t.co/EYEDxXH7Md
— jim beem (@IsiahaSaid) December 10, 2022
Best player in the world. https://t.co/2OmZh8JTlE
— Nathan (@nathenmikeuxl) December 10, 2022
Embiid absolutely loves playing against the Lakers. He really wanna be a Laker but he doesn’t know how to say it yet
— 73-9 and THEY LIED (@CuffsTheLegend) December 10, 2022
Embiid can't miss. Lakers defending him with LeBron right now
— Trevor Lane (@Trevor_Lane) December 10, 2022
Embiid in: Lakers look like a JV High School Team
Embiid out: Sixers look like a JV High School Team
My case for MVP
— Sixers Nation (@PHLSixersNation) December 10, 2022
Indeed, as dominant as the 76ers were with Embiid on the floor in the first quarter, the game instantly flipped when he took a breather to start the second. The Lakers, who trailed 31-20 at the end of the first quarter, went on a run and took the lead less than four minutes into the second quarter.