Fearless Embiid helps Sixers get better of Gobert and Jazz
Joel Embiid is eyeing end-of-season honours and getting the better of Rudy Gobert augured well for his prospects on that front.
Joel Embiid took on his critics after a stunning display helped the Philadelphia 76ers edge the NBA-leading Utah Jazz after overtime.
Embiid hit a game-tying three-pointer with 5.3 seconds remaining to force OT and finished the game with 40 points and 19 rebounds as the 76ers earned a 131-123 win.
He dominated against Rudy Gobert, in a duel between two players likely to be fighting for end-of-season honours, and was quick to aim a jibe at a local reporter.
Keith Pompey, of the Philadelphia Inquirer, recently noted how Embiid had missed a number of head-to-heads with top-class centers.
Embiid showed he was fearless up against Gobert, a fellow Defensive Player of the Year contender.
"First of all, according to Keith Pompey I'm scared of [Gobert] and I'm afraid of top centers," Embiid said in a post-game news conference.
"Man, as we saw tonight it looks like I was very, very scared of them, so yeah, keep talking.
"But going up against them, one of my goals is to also be Defensive Player of the Year."
Embiid is now averaging 11.6 rebounds and 30.2 points per game this season, while the Eastern Conference-leading Sixers improved to 24-12 for the season.
Gobert had nine rebounds and 12 points.
"When you go against those type of guys, he's a great player, he does a lot of things that don't show up on his stat-sheet," Embiid said.
Setting goals for 2021
"When you go against those guys, he brings something else to the rest of my game. I want to dominate, on the offensive line but mainly on the defensive line because that's the goal I set for myself at the beginning of the year.
"Those are the matchups that you want to go out there and just dominate, and prove to everyone that we have a great team and individually that you should be up there when it comes to those rankings, so hopefully that came through."