Philadelphia 76ers

Sixers Vs. Magic: Joel Embiid Ties Career High With 50 Points

Joel Embiid had a special night Wednesday, tying his career high with 50 points in a 123-110 Sixers win over the Magic at Wells Fargo Center.

3 observations after Embiid ties career high with 50 points in win over Magic originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

At 27 years old, Joel Embiid is on a Hall of Fame trajectory and as unstoppable as he’s ever been. 

There are a multitude of ways to describe Embiid’s greatness, but the numbers largely speak for themselves. In a 123-110 Sixers win Wednesday at Wells Fargo Center over the Magic, he scored 50 points on 17-for-23 shooting, tying his career high.

Embiid got to 50 by making a foul shot with 6:26 left, then missed the second. Sixers head coach Doc Rivers subbed him out with the Sixers on their way to a blowout win. 

Embiid has led the team in scoring 15 straight times, and it again wasn’t close against Orlando. 

Mo Bamba scored a career-best 32 points for the Magic.

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Shake Milton (back contusion), Matisse Thybulle (right shoulder sprain) and Danny Green (right hip pain) remained out for the Sixers. Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac and Wendell Carter Jr. were among the key Orlando players out. With Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley and assistant Nate Tibbetts in health and safety protocols, Orlando assistant Jesse Mermuys served as acting head coach. 

Milton sounded optimistic about his status pregame, noting he’s aiming to return “soon,” though he didn’t reveal the specific date he has in mind. However, the 25-year-old hasn’t yet progressed beyond light, solo on-court work; he mostly took standstill jumpers following shootaround Wednesday. 

Here are observations on Embiid’s memorable evening, plus more on the Sixers’ win over the Magic: 

Embiid’s career night

Embiid, Seth Curry and Tobias Harris all picked up where they left off Monday when the Sixers lost to the Wizards.

Embiid was deeply dominant, scoring the Sixers’ first nine points and 20 of their opening 22, while Harris and Curry combined to miss their first five field goals. After a quarter, Embiid had 20 points and the Magic had 21. 

The night began on a promising note for Embiid with a deep seal in the post and an and-one hoop. He then got to work against Bamba, driving for a layup before a delayed double team could arrive and stroking mid-range jumpers.

As is now the norm with Embiid, the man guarding him did not appear to be a factor. When Robin Lopez checked into the game, Embiid immediately drew a foul on the veteran big man. He’s become a legitimately nightmarish matchup. The disparity in agility between Embiid and Lopez was especially pronounced. 

Embiid was called for his third foul with 3:56 left in the second quarter. Rivers removed him, not wanting to risk any further first-half foul trouble, and the Sixers struggled during a boo-inducing stretch. 

However, Orlando didn’t have any real answers for Embiid after halftime either. Triple teams would have been warranted, but Embiid still saw lots of single coverage in the third quarter. 

Mixing in zone defense possessions did not solve the Magic’s gigantic Embiid problem. He reached 47 points with a step-back three-pointer over Lopez with 25 seconds left in the third. 

When he scored 50 last February against the Bulls, Embiid posed triumphantly for fans who weren't allowed to be in attendance because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Philadelphia crowd appreciated the show Wednesday.  

Bamba also not too shabby 

Bamba, who’d come off the bench and totaled 11 points in Orlando’s past two games, entered Wednesday night with a career high of 22 points. He smashed that in the second quarter.

The fourth-year big man was shooting jumpers with the confidence of a sweat-soaked, in-the-zone player grooving in an empty gym at that point. The Sixers could not shake him during a 28-point first half in which he went 7 for 8 from three-point range. As a team, the Sixers shot 3 for 9 from long distance before intermission. They clearly would benefit from quicker triggers beyond the arc, as Embiid has expressed several times. Back-to-back Tyrese Maxey triples erased a 10-point halftime deficit and put the Sixers up 64-63 early in the third. 

Though it doesn’t excuse every aspect of the Sixers’ defense on Bamba — there’s no question he got too many comfortable, top-of-the-key threes — it’s true that odd things happen over an 82-game season, including unbelievable outside shooting from a center most known for his shot blocking. Sometimes a tip of the cap is appropriate, and Bamba sure earned one Wednesday. 

In contrast to Embiid, Bamba was quiet in the second half and fouled out in the fourth quarter.

Brown in the first five 

Charlie Brown received a surprising start, his second in the NBA and first with the Sixers. 

Like the rest of Embiid’s teammates early on, Brown was a relative non-threat offensively. He missed a fast-break layup chance and was scoreless until a garbage-time three.

Brown guarded standout Magic rookie Franz Wagner (nine points, 11 rebounds) and continued to look capable defensively on a night when the Sixers were switch-heavy. He managed a rearview block on Jalen Suggs. No one is remotely comparable to Thybulle in the league, but Brown does at least possess some similar strengths and weaknesses. 

Furkan Korkmaz started the second half. Rivers also gave Isaiah Joe a short second-quarter stint alongside the Sixers’ second-unit players. 

In reality, the above is a minuscule footnote to Embiid’s performance. 

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