“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. “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 who 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.