The 76ers’ Joel Embiid made NBA history while securing the scoring title
What a year the Sixers’ big man is having, as he’s literally been a cut above the rest while putting his hands on the scoring title and making history at the same time.
Philadelphia’s big man just about secured himself the 2021/22 NBA scoring title on Saturday night with yet another stellar performance, this time at the expense of the Indiana Pacers.
The NBA scoring title belongs to 76ers’ Joel Embiid
As incredible as it may seem, the 41 points that Joel Embiid scored - on 14 of 17 shooting - for the Philadelphia 76ers in their win over the Pacers on Saturday night was actually just another normal night for the center. With that performance Embiid helped his team to their 50th win of the season and in the process more or less put his hands firmly on the scoring title.
With LeBron James unfortunately set to miss the end of the Lakers’ season through injury, Embiid’s closest rival is now out of the running. Indeed, if even Philly’s big man were to miss their final game of the season on Sunday against the Detroit Pistons, the next in line who is Giannis Antetokounmpo would need a whopping 77 points on Sunday to pass him. Of course if he does play, which we must assume he will, its likely that he will be increasing the distance between himself and Antetokounmpo.
Joel Embiid, Moses Malone and NBA history
Aside from what now seems to be an inevitable scoring title, Embiid actually managed to make another piece of history on Saturday night. What’s that you ask? Believe it or not, whether Joel Embiid goes scoreless on the final night of the season, he will still finish it with an average of more than 30 points per game, which in turn means that he’s the first center in 40 years to do so across an entire season. That’s right, not even legends like David Robinson who posted 29.8 ppg in 1994, Shaquille O’Neal with 29.7 in 2000 or even Patrick Ewing who had 28.6 in 1990 can compare to what Moses Malone did back in 1982, except of course the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embidd.
There is of course perhaps some poetry in the fact that Malone himself was a 76er when achieved the milestone just as Embiid is today. Indeed, Malone actually went on to win three MVP awards during what would later become a Hall of Fame career. Where Embiid is concerned, he’s trying to win his first MVP and has even at times publicly stated that he is a worthy winner. Malone does, however, have an NBA title to his name, which he won with 76ers. If Embiid is to win the MVP award a good way to justify his status would be to help the Sixers win their first title since Malone did.
With Philadelphia likely set to be the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, one could argue that they don’t exactly have the look of champions. Even more so when considering that fellow star James Harden hasn’t been at his best lately, but if there is one thing the 76ers have been able to count on all season, its Embiid. When Ben Simmons left and Harden arrived, it was Embiid who steadied the ship and as they head to the playoffs on the back of his history making season, can one truly count them out?