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Joel Embiid, Victor Wembanyama react to first matchup after Sixers win

PHILADELPHIA — The focus on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center was the matchup between Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid and San Antonio Spurs rookie phenom Victor Wembanyama.

Embiid, the reigning league MVP, is the face of the center position in the NBA at the moment while Wembanyama is in that next generation of centers. Wemby is going to be great, there is no doubt about that, but Embiid wanted to remind him of who’s the big dog in the league at the moment.

Embiid put on a historic performance in a 133-123 win for the Sixers. The big fella scored a franchise record 70 points on 24-for-41 shooting with 18 rebounds and five assists. Wembanyama held his own with 33 points and seven rebounds which earned the respect of Embiid.

“He’s great, man,” said Embiid. “I mean, he’s got everything. Size, skill, got everything. There’s nothing else to say. Bright future. He’s already pretty good, but once he develops and his body also catches up, he’s gonna bring a lot of problems for a lot of guys in this league. He’s extremely talented.”

Embiid right now is the face of the centers in the league, but Wembanyama is somebody who wants to be on that same level. For him to be able to match up with Embiid at this point in time is going to help his future.

“I mean it would have been more fun in a win of course but it’s inspiring,” said Wembanyama. “Inspiring especially offensively.”

Embiid takes pride in being able to be the leader for the next generation of players in this league. He has been through a lot to get to this point and wants to help young guys like Wembanyama.

“It’s great,” Embiid began. “Even though I started playing late, from the time I started playing, Kobe (Bryant) was my guy. He’s the reason why I started playing basketball and it’s funny on the same night he had 81 and that was my favorite player.”

Bryan did score 81 points on Jan. 22, 2006, so, on the 18-year anniversary of that night, Embiid ended up dropping 70 points. With Wembanyama in attendance, the big fella was able to make history.

“When I started, the guys that I was looking up to and they were doing all this,” Embiid finished. “So if he says it’s inspiring, I hope in a couple years, hopefully, when I don’t have to guard him and I’m out of the league, hopefully, he can do the same thing and go out and break all these records and possibly break Wilt’s (Chamberlain) record of 100 points.”

Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire