The distance duel between Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid for the MVP trophy reached new heights last night. At the beginning of the evening, the 2021 MVP was monstrous against the Lakers with 38 points, 17 rebounds, 6 assists. A few minutes later, Joel Embiid arrives on the floor of the Cavaliers and he answers him in the best way: 44 points, 17 rebounds and 5 blocks † Both finish with a score of 50, but the Cameroonian pivot had to work harder to fend off the Cavaliers, so he was chosen as MVP of the night.
It’s his eleventh game of the season with at least 40 points and 10 rebounds, and only Russell Westbrook and Moses Malone have done better since the 1976 merger with the ABA. The Thunder point guard and the former Sixers center had gone on to become MVPs during those years…
“It would be great if that happens” replied Joel Embiid† “If it doesn’t happen, I don’t know what to do… I’ll feel like they hate me. I feel like the rules are different for you, in Philadelphia or for me, for everyone. †
Like Westbrook in his day, Joel Embiid does his Calimero, convinced that we are mad at him and that the American press is pro-Jokic. For Doc Rivers, his pivot is the MVP of the season, and he explains why.
“Of course I know he’s my player… But he does so many things… Our second best player was out, and when we made that trade we were one win away from first place… There would be so much to say about it” Doc Rivers believes.
“Every night I witness his greatness”
Tonight Joel Embiid carried his team on his shoulders, as he has effectively done all season. Especially in the 4th quarter it was necessary to react to a burning Lauri Markkanen and the Cmaerounais in the last quarter alone 13 points and 5 rebounds. And he also drew a decisive counter on Darius Garland which caused a lot of talk in the camp across the street.
“In Q4 it’s time to be productive” explains Joel Embiid. “They are all around me, and I have to find solutions. I have to make things happen, both on offense and on defense. Then I say to myself: “I have to be even more concentrated than in the rest of the game. †
For James Harden, MVP in 2018, this makes all the difference in his teammate. This ability to be decisive in all areas of the game, not just points.
“Every night I witness his magnificence. Of course, his attack stats speak for themselves. In defense he was very active with his blocks, he changed the trajectories of the shots and locking the racket was key tonight. †