PHILADELPHIA–The Philadelphia 76ers had their chance late at home against the Portland Trail Blazers. After trailing by as many as 21, they had rallied to tie the game late in the fourth, and then while down 119-118 with 7.2 seconds left, they went to the big fella.
James Harden inbounded the ball to Joel Embiid and the Sixers just sat back and let the MVP candidate go to work. Embiid drove before spinning back to the middle of the floor and he drilled a fadeaway jumper over Jusuf Nurkic. Portland’s Damian Lillard then missed on the other end and the Sixers rallied to win it 120-119.
“I got the ball at the top of the key and had enough space to really get whatever I wanted,” Embiid explained. “As I dribbled, Dame kind of showed some help so I had to spin back in, but honestly I just wanted to get to my spot which is the free throw area. Once I got there, I just knew I had to make it.”
When the shot dropped and Philadelphia escaped with the win, Harden wasn’t shocked at what Embiid did. This is what he does.
“It’s something that he works on every day,” said Harden. “That’s why he’s the MVP of the league.”
Whether Embiid wins MVP remains to be seen, but his shot to sink the Blazers on Friday was impressive and it was a shot that Philadelphia really needed in order to get this one done.
“That’s a perfect spot, honestly,” the big fella added. “Especially, from my previous years. I’ve had a couple of opportunities of game winners and stuff and we kept trying to post. Like I said, it’s easy to double when there’s not enough space, but when you get enough in those positions where you’re at the nail or at the top of the key, the court is wide open because most of the time, guys don’t want to give up 3s. It’s been working out pretty well.”
“He’s just good,” Tyrese Maxey added of Embiid. “He’s really good. I’m surprised they didn’t double him, but I guess you can’t. You got four guys on the perimeter that shoot 40. So, if they want us to beat them that way, he will, but he made a big shot. Hell of a shot.”
The Sixers will now look to keep the winning going when they move on to face the Washington Wizards on Sunday.