PHILADELPHIA-On Saturday afternoon, Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid had a chance to close the game out. He stared down 2-time MVP Nikola Jokic, he made a few dribbles, stepped back, and drilled a deep triple to give the Sixers a 125-117 lead with 30.1 seconds left.
It capped off a brilliant performance where Embiid dropped 47 points with 18 rebounds in a 126-119 win over the Denver Nuggets who entered play as the West's No. 1 seed. The big fella made a statement, even though he says there was nothing extra for this game, after not being named an All-Star starter and losing out on the MVP twice to Jokic.
This also isn't the first time Embiid has come up big in the clutch. He recently drilled a go-ahead jumper late in a win over the Utah Jazz on Jan. 14 on the road.
"It's fun," Embiid smiled. "I've always liked to think that I'm a closer and I am but it's fun taking the last shot or taking the last-second shot with 4-3-2 on the clock left. It's fun for me."
Situations like Saturday are always a good test for somebody like Embiid to step in and lead the way in a big moment.
"I like that challenge," he added. "I like going into the fourth quarter getting into those types of possessions where you go out, you got to go out and make the plays and whether it's offensively or defensively. That's when you find out who's who. Who's made up for those types of moments."
Performances like Saturday also give Embiid an opportunity to properly prepare for the playoffs. The Sixers still have 34 games left before the postseason begins, but these are the games that get players ready to go for April and May.
"For me, I've always seen the regular season as, no disrespect, but as a practice for me to be able to try as many moves as possible," Embiid finished. "Just to see what works and so when you get to the playoffs, you're just ready for anything and you've seen everything. You've used everything and you know what works and what doesn't and you go from there."
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Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire