NBA

Embiid excited about the 76ers' prospects after victory over Bucks

By Sports Desk February 18, 2022

The Philadelphia 76ers had to "send a message" against the Milwaukee Bucks, according to Joel Embiid, who is excited about what the future might hold.

Embiid was on top form on Thursday, scoring 42 points and adding 14 rebounds and five assists in a supreme display.

Fittingly, he nudged the 76ers ahead for the final time in the fourth quarter, with Philadelphia holding firm to seal a 123-120 victory and snap a six-game losing streak against the Bucks, despite the efforts of Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The reigning NBA Finals MVP fell just short of a triple-double, finishing on 32 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.

It was a much-needed win for the 76ers heading into the All-Star break, however, with Philadelphia having been thrashed 135-87 by the Boston Celtics on Tuesday.

"Man, it sucked, but then again, look at the big picture, they were making everything," Embiid told ESPN when asked how important a response to that defeat was.

"We learned a lot from it, we had to get back to our game and send a message."

Philadelphia beat the Bucks without new arrival James Harden, who is out with a hamstring injury he sustained earlier in February while still playing for the Brooklyn Nets.

"I'm just excited for us to be healthy, for us all to be together," continued Embiid.

"I've just got to keep doing what I'm doing and I'm sure my team-mates will follow. We're pretty excited about what we can accomplish."

Embiid came out on top in the battle of two of the NBA's finest performers. He leads the way in the league for points per game (29.6), just ahead of Antetokounmpo (29.4).

"You know, Finals MVP, an MVP of the regular season, so I live for this type of matchup, it's always fun battling against him, a great player, just glad we got the win," Embiid added.

Antetokounmpo told reporters: "We had a lot of open looks, good shots that did not fall, shots that we usually make down the stretch."

Philadelphia's talisman only managed 19 points against Boston, which ended a run of 23 straight games in which he had at least 25 points.

However, he has now had nine games this season with at least 40 points and 10 rebounds. That is the second-most in a season by a Philadelphia player, behind Wilt Chamberlain's 18 in 1965-66, according to the 76ers' official data.

The 76ers are third in the Eastern Conference with a 35-23 record for the season.

"The one thing the later All-Star break does, when you come out, it's a sprint," 76ers coach Doc Rivers told reporters.

"It's no longer the midway point, where you can ease back from the break. It's a full sprint when you come back."

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