Joel Embiid: “It’s a walking cheat code” | Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle is in awe of the Philadelphia 76ers star
Joel Embiid impressed Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle on Saturday when he set an franchise record by scoring 30 or more points in nine straight games.
The Cameroonian had 31 points on 10-for-15 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and seven assists, leading the Sixers to a 141-121 win over the Pacers. His team has won eight in a row and sits comfortably as the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference standings.
Embiid’s participation in this winning streak alongside NBA legends Allen Iverson and Wilt Chamberlain, who set similar records, has seen him and Pacers coach Rick Carlisle impressed with how it developed.
“Empiid, right now, is probably the best player,” said Carlisle. “With what their team is doing and how they have elevated their game, it’s hard for him to plan to play like he is in the game. Giannis is fucking crazy. Jokic is the same. And maybe this guy would be even tougher if that’s even possible.”
“He had 31 points in less than three quarters. He made it look like he wasn’t trying to do it… He’s an NBA cheating symbol going in right now. He’s so good.”
Sixers coach Doc Rivers echoed his sentiments, saying, “I was really happy. Joel was sometimes a base guard for us. He had maybe 15 assists a game of hockey, which was amazing. Low turnover rate. In front of a high-scoring team.” Of the goals on the way, you’re forced to do it.”
The Pacers threw all kinds of unwanted defenses at him. For a while, Aaron Nesmith served as the first line of defense, checking him as far from the basket as he could, and even that wasn’t particularly successful. Even when they played him hard, he missed and made 10 or 13 free throws.
“It’s tough because he’s a big guy,” said Nesmith. “Seven feet and so heavy. It’s hard to guard him without using your hands and being physical. In today’s game, as the referees call it, it’s hard to be physical with a guy like that and not get in serious trouble. Trying to find that balance. When I first got him I made like three mistakes because of that.”
His recent form has been a problem for defenders all over the league and It gives Jokic and Giannis something to think about in the MVP standings. With less than 15 games to go in the regular season, Embiid, unlike others, may have peaked at just the right time.