The Atlanta Hawks have zero answers for Joel Embiid
It’s crazy to think that just a week ago, Joel Embiid’s status for round two of the playoffs was in jeopardy. Embiid suffered a small lateral tear in his right meniscus in game four against the Wizards. He did not play in game five and was listed as day-to-day heading into game one of the second round matchup against the Hawks. Embiid started game one and was dominant, scoring a playoff career high 39 points to go along with nine rebounds, four assists, three blocks and a steal. His performance was overshadowed, as the Sixers dropped game one at home after a disappointing first half of basketball.
Last night, Embiid managed to one-up his performance in game one. Embiid scored 40 points and added 13 rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a block while shooting 52 percent from the floor. Following the game, 76ers head coach Doc Rivers compared Embiid to Hakeem Olajuwon, when speaking about how dominant Embiid has played through the first two games of the Hawks series.
Joel Embiid Highlights Game Two:
Through two games, Joel Embiid has scored 79 points. It is only the third time in franchise history a player has scored that amount of points in the first two games of a series. Allen Iverson scored 84 points and 90 points in the early 2000s.
Embiid is also the first player in nine years to record 40 points and 13 rebounds in a playoff game. The last player to accomplish such a feat was LeBron James in 2012. The fact that Embiid is breaking records all while playing with a torn meniscus is incredible. No matter what the Atlanta Hawks have thrown at Embiid, nothing has worked.
Hawks center Clint Capela is incapable of slowing down Embiid. This is a player that used to put up 20 rebound games for the Hawks during the regular season. Against Embiid, his offensive capabilities have been reduced to alley-oop drunks and he can’t stay out of foul trouble. Capela had five fouls last night and four fouls in game one.
Capela’s backup, Oneyka Okongwu, had four fouls in just 12 minutes of action last night. The only chance the Hawks have at stopping Embiid is fouling him. The problem with that, is that Embiid is a fantastic free throw shooter. It will be interesting to see what Atlanta attempts to do next to try and slow down Joel Embiid. They have already tried to double, trap, use different matchups, and so much more, but nothing has worked.
Hopefully, the extra day’s rest will help Embiid out while the 76ers travel to Atlanta for Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals on Friday night at 7:30 on ESPN.
Mandatory Credit: Matt Slocum AP Photo