PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The MVP race is over.
Those were the words of Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers following Joel Embiid's 52-point performance Tuesday night against the Celtics.
The voters will have the final say, but I would have to agree with Rivers.
Embiid has been runner-up in the NBA race twice. This year is his best shot.
Embiid leads the NBA in scoring with a career-high 33.3 points per game. In fact, his shooting percentage is also at a career-high clip too.
The other two players in the discussion - Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo and reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic of Denver - have better rebounding numbers.
I will give you that.
But think about where the Sixers would be without Embiid.
Would they even make the playoffs? Perhaps. But it's clear, Embiid has carried this team.
Let's look at some other categories. Embiid plays better defense than the other two - he's averaging a full block per game better than the Joker and nearly a full one per game over the Greek Freak.
He's a better free throw shooter. He turns the ball over less.
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Let's look back to Tuesday's dominance.
That was Embiid's third 50-point game of the season. Giannis also has three. Jokic has none.
This season, JoJo has been basically unguardable.
Play him straight up, he'll torch you. Send a double-team, he'll find the open man or still score.
But let's not forget the real goal here.
As much as I'm sure Embiid wants to win his first MVP, what he really wants - and what we all want even more - is to see this team finally make it past the second round.