Joel Embiid managed a season-high 50 points to help the Philadelphia 76ers to a 131-126 win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, leading team-mate De’Anthony Melton to declare: “That’s why he’s the MVP”.
Embiid reached a half-century for the sixth time in his career at Capital One Arena as the Sixers got back to winning ways following a pair of defeats against the New Orleans Pelicans and Boston Celtics.
The reigning NBA MVP, who made a career-best 59 against the Utah Jazz on November 22 last year, was in stunning form on his return to the court after missing two games through illness, shooting 19 of 24 from the field and making 11 of 13 free throws.
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Embiid also added seven assists and 13 rebounds, while guard Tyrese Maxey tacked on 26 points and Melton contributed 19.
Speaking after the win, Melton was in awe of his team-mate’s display, saying: “It was quite the 50. He was just going out there effortlessly shooting the ball and scoring.
“He’s our safety valve… offensively and defensively. That’s why he’s the MVP.
“He covers up for a lot of our mistakes defensively and then offensively he can bail us out late and make some shots.”
Maxey was less impressed with Embiid’s performance, joking: “He should have had 60!”
Embiid himself was pleased to shoulder the offensive burden for Philadelphia, saying: “Sometimes your team needs you to be a playmaker.
goodnight from this guy.
talk to you tomorrow, sixers twitter! pic.twitter.com/xb0FgPWVop
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) December 7, 2023
“Sometimes they need you to score and I felt like it was one of those nights where I had to be aggressive and get it going, but they made passes, they made the right plays every single time and I just finished them.”
While the Sixers are up to 13-7 and sit fourth in the Eastern Conference, the 3-17 Wizards are second from bottom, with only the league-worst Detroit Pistons below them at 2-19.