Joel Embiid recently missed 10 games with a bone bruise on his left knee.
Despite the absence, the Philadelphia 76ers’ All-Star still believes there’s one candidate for the Most Valuable Player this season.
And that’s him.
“When it comes to the MVP stuff, I feel like I’m still right there,” Embiid said. “When I’m on the floor, I feel like I’ve been the best all season, just doing my thing, just dominating with the help of my teammates, and the coaches putting me in the right positions to succeed.”
Embiid’s Sixers will visit the Dallas Mavericks and their MVP candidate, Luka Doncic, on Monday night.
The Sixers will play with momentum following a 117-93 win at Oklahoma City on Saturday. Embiid led the 76ers with 27 points and nine rebounds, and Furkan Korkmaz added 20 points and five steals.
With Embiid as the catalyst, the Sixers came back strong after a frustrating loss the night before against the New Orleans Pelicans.
“We responded good,” teammate Mike Scott said. “The great thing about the NBA — there’s a lot of games — back-to-back, quick turnarounds. You learn from your mistakes and you keep moving. No matter the team and no matter the record, it’s always great to come in and get a win, especially on the road.”
While Embiid has continued to carry the Sixers, his outside shot has been off since returning from the knee injury. He has missed 13 of his past 14 shots from beyond the arc.
“You’ve got to keep shooting them,” Embiid said. “Miss or make, you’ve got to keep taking them. Obviously, they haven’t been going in. A lot of it has to do with the brace and getting back to myself.”
The Mavericks hope to avoid their third loss in four games when they host the Sixers.
In their most recent game, the Mavericks fell 119-117 to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday as DeMar DeRozan hit the winning jumper with 0.5 seconds remaining.
Kristaps Porzingis paced the Mavericks with 31 points and 15 rebounds while Doncic added 29 points and seven assists. Doncic has 25 or more points in 11 of his past 13 games. Teammates Josh Richardson had 16 points and Jalen Brunson 11 in the narrow loss to the Spurs.
Despite the tough loss, the Mavericks could receive a major boost with the addition of J.J. Redick to the active roster. Redick, who has been battling a sore right heel, practiced Saturday.
“My Achilles and heel are sore, but it’s sore all the time,” Redick said. “I’m just managing it right now. It’s the first time going live, and I thought it went really well. We’ll see how I feel. The antsiness is real right now. I’m anxious to play.”
Redick averaged 8.7 points in 31 games with the Pelicans before being traded to the Mavericks in March. Redick has 1,935 career 3-pointers, the 15th most in league history.
Whether Redick makes his debut Monday or later, the Porzingis-Doncic combination continues to be more and more effective.
“There’s some situations where there’s Luka or myself; (the defense) don’t back off at all or they switch right away,” Porzingis said. “So you don’t get anything easy or you don’t create that space in any situation. So that’s when you need actually to call some plays, or somebody sets a screen on me so I can cut and open things up.”
–Field Level Media