NBA

Sixers coach Rivers declares 'the MVP race is over' after Embiid puts on a show

By Sports Desk April 05, 2023

Joel Embiid's stellar showing against the Boston Celtics led Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers to declare the MVP race "over".

Embiid is a likely contender, alongside Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo, for the NBA's MVP award.

But with just five days of the regular season remaining, the Sixers star made an almighty push for the gong with a remarkable display against the Celtics.

Embiid scored 52 points, over half of Philadelphia's total in a 103-101 victory on Tuesday, while adding 13 rebounds and six assists.

The 29-year-old is the first player in the stop-clock era to score more than half of his team's points and shoot 80 per cent from the field.

Wilt Chamberlain, meanwhile, was the only other player to have previously shot 80 per cent from the field and record at least 50 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

For Rivers, it means job done in the MVP race.

"The man just scored half our points, in an NBA game," Rivers said. 

"I'm biased, but the MVP race is over.

"We did so many things wrong, but what we did right was Joel Embiid."

Embiid's team-mate James Harden echoed Rivers' sentiment, adding: "Joel should win it.

"He's been in contention for it the last few years. He led the league in scoring last year. It looks like he's going to lead the league in scoring this year.

"We're the third seed in the East. He's been consistent all year."

When the comments of Rivers and Harden were put to him, Embiid quipped: "They're probably right, but we got bigger goals.

"We understand we got a chance, but it's not going to be easy. For me, it was kind of disappointing because we found so many ways to lose the game, and that's on all of us.

"I'm part of it. I could've been better. You know, I had a couple of dumb plays. I could've been better, and we could've been better as a team.

"Like I said, we got bigger goals in mind, but we got to be better than that."

As for how to stop Embiid, who is second in the NBA for points this season (2,162) and leads the way for points per game (33.3), Celtics guard Derrick White is non-plussed.

"I think the whole league's trying to figure that out right now," said White. "So, if you got any ideas, I think every other NBA team would like to know."

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