Then Embiid went out and showed why the fans voted him in as a starter.
Embiid scored 26 points and added nine rebounds, seven assists and two blocked shots.
«Obviously, he was gonna make it you know, but he’s done more than just been an All-Star for us. He’s doing everything for us on and off the floor,» Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said of Embiid. «That’s why we have the record. I mean with all the stuff floating around this team, we just keep winning. A lot of that is Joel’s leadership.»
The Sixers will look for their fourth consecutive victory when they host the Sacramento Kings on Saturday.
Even on a night when Embiid wasn’t as efficient as usual — 0 for 5 from 3-point territory and 8 of 13 from the free throw line — his leadership was evident.
«It was a great win. We did it as a team,» Embiid said. «We moved the ball, and you know we played together, and then defensively we were really good tonight. Like I said, offensively we did it as a team. You know I was not very good tonight, so I’m happy that my teammates were able to pick me up and we got the win.»
Embiid has scored at least 25 points in 16 straight games, the second-longest streak in franchise history behind only Allen Iverson, who accomplished the feat in 27 consecutive games from Jan. 12-March 9, 2001.
The Kings will hope to avoid a sixth loss in a row when they visit the Sixers. Sacramento fell 121-104 to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.
De’Aaron Fox missed his third straight game with a sore left ankle, and the Kings looked completely out of sync on offense for large stretches.
Another loss left them searching for answers.
«I’m open for suggestions, I can tell you that right now,» Kings interim head coach Alvin Gentry said. «We ain’t going to give up, I can tell you. We will never quit.»
Harrison Barnes led the Kings with 28 points and nine rebounds, but those lofty numbers seemed empty after another frustrating loss in a season filled with them.
«It’s a range of emotions: frustration, anger, embarrassment, disappointment. You can go down the list,» Barnes said. «No one prepares and wants to lose, wants to go through losing the way we’ve been going about it. There’s a lot of frustration, but it’s on us to get out of this.»
The Kings have dropped 10 of their past 12, falling to 18-32. Losses have occurred for a variety of reasons, but they feel they simply have to keep trying.
«I’ve tried everything,» Gentry said. «I’ve tried to get them to the point where they’re totally upset with me so that would galvanize them and put them all together, but that hasn’t seemed to work. I’ve tried to talk to them along the lines of appreciating each other and understanding each other and having respect for each other, and if you do that then you’re going to compete at a level, not just for yourself but for your teammates.»
–Field Level Media