76ers win playoff berth, Joel Embiid sets personal milestone for games played in a season

Joel Embid Getty Philadelphia 76ers Sixers
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Their 112-108 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night was remarkable for the Philadelphia 76ers. First off, the win secured the Sixers a postseason appearance for a fifth straight season — a solid streak. Postseason seeding in the Eastern Conference remains up in the air, but the Sixers are now assured of a spot regardless of how their final games turn out.

With the win, the Sixers won the season series with the Cavaliers 4-0. Joel Embiid put on another dominant performance to lead Philadelphia to victory. The big man had 44 points and 17 rebounds. It was Embiid’s 11th performance this season with 40 points and 10 rebounds. Only Russell Westbrook (12 in 2016-17) and Moses Malone (12 in 1981-82) have had more such performances in a season since the 1976 NBA/ABA merger. The game will certainly help bolster Embiid’s already impressive MVP case.

The game was statistically significant for Embiid, but it was also significant for another reason. The game was the 65th that Embiid has featured this season. That’s the most games he’s ever played in a single season. His previous best was 64 games in the 2018/19 season.

For a man who grappled with serious injury woes early in his career — to the point where people questioned whether he would ever make the stage for Philadelphia — this milestone is significant for Embiid. It’s also worth noting that a majority of the games Embiid missed this season were COVID-related. Otherwise he is mostly healthy.

Against Cleveland, Embiid also got vital help from his newest running mate. James Harden added 21 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds for the Sixers – his second triple-double with the team. Several of Embiid’s baskets stem from finds from Harden, as chemistry between the two stars continues to grow.

The Sixers have four regular-season games left — Pacers (twice), Raptors and Pistons — to work on that chemistry before the postseason game starts, because when it does it puts the pressure on a team looking to bounce back afterwards would like to come, great excitement in the second round of last season. 76ers win playoff berth, Joel Embiid sets personal milestone for games played in a season

Dais Johnston

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