The sleeping giant, literally he’s a giant, has awoken!
Embiid finally had his signature game this season and the Sixers got an impressive 109-105 victory.
I would be lying if I told I wasn’t nervous going into last night’s game vs the Clippers (5-8).
Embiid hasn’t been himself all season and has looked sluggish/fatigued at times during games. The pace of play during games has been what has hurt the big man the most but last night pace was a non-factor.
With Embiid working from the block, the Clippers found themselves playing a game of Hack-a-Jo. He attacked DeAndre Jordan, got him to foul out after doing the same post up move on back to back plays for his 5th and 6th foul.
Embiid also bought a beautiful 4 acre property with a swimming pool and a guest house in Willie Reed’s head last night. Helping him to 6 fouls and an early shower as well.
Although he didn’t make LA pay from the charity stripe as much as he would have liked to (9/16) he did slow the game down. Every trip to line with the clock stopped gave Embiid another opportunity to catch his breath and allowed him to play a career high 36 total minutes. 32 points and 16 rebounds in those minutes is the rookie year Embiid we’ve all been waiting for.
Also, having the big man on the floor for that extended time does wonders for this team’s overall defense.
With Embiid on the floor this year Philadelphia has an impressive 96.7 defensive rating. That would be second best in the league to only those 12-2 Boston Celtics.
With Joel off the floor the Sixers are a 110.1 defensive rating. That would be second worst in the league behind only Cleveland.
The offense also benefitted greatly by having a dominant Joel on the floor. He was a game high +23 on the night and as a team the Sixers shot nearly 50% (49.4) from the field. The defense was collapsing on Embiid once he really got going which left open looks for guys like Redick and Covington.
Redick was greeted by the crowd with cheers and a montage video before the game as he made his first appearance in LA since signing with Philadelphia in the offseason. He only connected on 1 of 7 three point attempts on the night and finished with 10 total points.
Covington on the other hand made easy work of his 8 three point chances by burying 5 of them en route to a 31 point outing. Last night marked the first time two Sixers’ players scored 30 or more in the same night since Allen Iverson (47) and Chris Webber (34) on March 31st, 2006.
RoCo is playing like a man on a mission and that mission is to get paid!
Tomorrow Covington will be eligible to sign a contract extension and I’d expect a deal to be done almost immediately.
The terms of the deal had most likely been established prior to the season starting which accounts for some of the remaining money Philadelphia has left under the cap. The Sixers can use some of or all of the remaining $15,120,873 in cap space to renegotiate RoCo’s salary from the $1,577,230 he’s in line to make this year to $16,698,103.
Philadelphia isn’t in the business of buying bad contracts for second picks anymore so they have no use for the extra $15 million.
Why not pay Covington more this season and save money in future years for free agent signings?
Whether they use that money for this season or not Covington will be in a Philadelphia 76ers’ jersey terrorizing opposing scorers and draining clutch threes for the foreseeable feature.
Tomorrow the Sixers will finish off their road trip with a match up vs the Lakers. I can’t wait for this game. Ben vs Ball. Embiid vs the Laker crowd and LaVar. It’s going to be a show you won’t want to miss.
Make sure to check back here tomorrow for a full game preview, and be sure to follow @Popoleo7 for updates and everything Sixers!