It’s Christmas Day, and the first game of the holiday NBA slate is often a little dull. But Joel Embiid took it upon themselves to create highlight after highlight in Monday’s matinee matchup, won, 105-98, by the Sixers despite an excellent defensive performance by Kristaps Porzingis and a shocking 31-point, 22-rebound game from Enes Kanter.
You can thank Embiid for that. He finished with 25 points and 15 rebounds, along with three blocks in the first half. Each one of his rejections reminded the world just how dominant the 7-footer can be when he’s healthy and on the floor for the 76ers.
Frank Ntilikina blew by Trevor Booker and would have had a clean look at a layup had Embiid not stepped over and swatted it off the backboard:
Kyle O’Quinn probably thought this little spin move around Embiid would have generated a semi-open look ... until he was met with a big ol’ hand on the ball:
And for some reason, Kanter thought going up on the opposite side of the rim would be more successful that going right up Embiid’s chest. The two would have had the same ending:
Porzingis did his part defensively, to be fair. If you think you’re going to get by him in the paint, just ask Trevor Booker or Robert Covington how that went:
KP even got Embiid early in the third quarter.
And again in the fourth.
But in the end, Embiid had the last laugh. This is a sideline out of bounds play to get a 7’2 dude a three, and it crushed any momentum the Knicks were building.
Unicorn’y, indeed. Watching Embiid and Porzingis face off made this Christmas Day game well worth it.