Joel Embiid almost ended up on the wrong side of history during the 76ers’ game against the Lakers on Wednesday night. With about a minute remaining in the first half of the game, Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma came down the court and tried to put Embiid on a poster.
Kuzma missed his dunk attempt, but had he made it, most NBA fans said that Embiid would have had to stay off social media for awhile to recover from the dunk. It was that crazy, and all Embiid could do after it happened was laugh. He clearly knew how devastating the dunk could have been.
As it stands, though, no one will remember that dunk moving forward because Embiid rebounded from it to put together one of the most impressive stat lines you will ever see. He finished the game, which the 76ers won 115-109, with 46 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists, and 7 blocks. And just to put that into perspective, there is only one other player who has ever put together a stat line that looked anything like that. His name? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar—and he needed four overtimes to do it.
If you fell asleep before the end of the game and missed Embiid putting in work, you can catch up on all of the highlights below. As you’ll see, Embiid carved the Lakers up in just about every single way imaginable.
After the game, Embiid actually seemed to downplay his historic effort by saying that he "was just playing basketball." But others weren’t as quick to dismiss this as just another game. Lakers coach Luke Walton referred to Embiid as "a problem." Kevin Hart interrupted Embiid’s post-game interview to yell "Trust the Process!"
And all of the 76ers fans out there who have been waiting for this day to come for years now celebrated on social media. Most of them already knew what they had in Embiid, but his stat-stuffing effort on Wednesday night was further proof that Embiid and the Sixers are on the right path.
Embiid wasn’t finished entertaining all of the NBA fans out there, either. During the game on Wednesday night, Lonzo Ball—who has been targeted by Embiid on social media in the past—scored just 2 points on 1-for-9 shooting and didn’t play at all in the fourth quarter. So when the game ended, Embiid trolled Lonzo and his dad LaVar with a post on Instagram (make sure you check out Embiid's location).
He later explained that he didn’t mean for it to be a shot at Lonzo (while making no such claim regarding LaVar).
That may be so. But both on the court and on social media, Embiid got the best of Lonzo and the Lakers all night long. And if he continues to play the way he played on Wednesday night, the rest of the league is in trouble.