Sixers star Joel Embiid explains motivations to dominate Rudy Gobert

Ky Carlin
·3 min read

The Philadelphia 76ers took on the Utah Jazz on Wednesday in a matchup of the two top teams in their respective conferences. It was all set up to be a huge matchup as both teams have star power on both the perimeter and at the big man spots.

Joel Embiid once again had another big night as he dropped 40 points and 19 rebounds including knocking down a huge triple to force overtime in a 131-123 win. It came in a matchup with former Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert which will open a lot of eyes in the MVP conversation.

Embiid also shot an efficient 14-for-27 from the floor and he was 10-for-13 from the line. Considering the status that Gobert has, the big fella wanted to take it to him.

“Going up against him, one of my goals is to also be Defensive Player of the Year,” said Embiid. “When you go against those types of guys, he’s a great player, he does a lot for his team that doesn’t show up in the stat sheet, but when you go against those guys, it brings something else in my game. I want to dominate on the offensive end, but mainly the defensive end. That’s the goal I set for myself at the beginning of the year.”

The Sixers needed every single point from Embiid in this one against the best team in the NBA record-wise and it was very important for them to pick up this win and go into the break with some momentum. It really is one of their best wins of the season.

“He was absolutely unbelievable,” said coach Doc Rivers. “He got what he wanted when he wanted it. He made the right plays. That was a really big team win for us. We’re fortunate we got a 3 from Joel which is huge for us and we wanted a 2 or a 3 at that point. We didn’t care because we had a timeout in our pocket, but that was big.”

The Sixers have two players that are candidates for Defensive Player of the Year in Embiid as well as Ben Simmons, but for the big fella to come out and play the way he did on offense against Gobert and then also block two shots is huge.

“Obviously, I have another one of my teammates that has the potential to be the Defensive Player of the Year, but those are the matchups you want to go out and just dominate,” Embiid added. “Prove to everybody that we have a great team and individually, I should be up there when it comes to those rankings and stuff.”

The Sixers will now head into the All-Star break sitting at the top of the East following a very terrific win.

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