It's only preseason, but 76ers center Joel Embiid is taking these games very seriously.

Embiid used the offseason to elevate his game and even has shown that intensity in the Sixers' first two preseason games. Embiid is averaging 20.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in 23 minutes. Again, nobody should get too caught up in preseason statistics, but Embiid is attacking the exhibition games with regular-season intensity.

He appeared genuinely concerned with the way the Sixers began the third quarter Monday night in a 120-114 victory over the Orlando Magic.

"The third quarter, the start, we sucked — we were really bad," he said. "We have to follow the concepts, follow the game plan. I thought we were lazy as far as our switching. They got a lot of threes at the beginning of the third quarter."

Then he pointed the finger at himself.

"I have to be better around the rim, and making sure I communicate because I see everything and tell my teammates what is coming and what to do," he said. "I have to do a better job, and they have to follow it."

Maybe in the past these things would have slipped by Embiid, but after an offseason of rigorous training, he appears to have more intensity and attention to detail. He said his approach in the offseason focused on his inside game. Asked what he has improved, Embiid replied, "Just post moves; my balance is way better than last year."

Embiid shot 1-for-6 against Orlando on three-pointers, but said he was taking them more only because it is the preseason.

While it's hard to think of Embiid abandoning the three, it appears he's looking to get the ball near the rim as much as possible.

"Getting the ball in the post will be great, and I think I have improved on that," he said. "Once my teammates start understanding what I want from them and where they should be, I think it is going to get better."

At 7-foot-2 and 280 pounds, Embiid has both the power and quickness to do considerable damage inside.

"I create so much contact that every time they touch me is a foul, so I have to take advantage of that," he said.

Last season, if there was one criticism of Embiid, it was that he shot too many threes and didn't go inside enough. He shot 30.8 percent from three-point range last season, averaging 3.4 attempts. Embiid shot 52.7 percent on two-point field goals. In eight playoff games, he shot 27.6 percent from three-point range and averaged 3.6 threes per game. He shot 47.7 percent from two-point range and appeared to be wearing down.

Now, he said he feels stronger and much better about his ability to dominate in the low post.

"I only missed one shot [inside]," he said about Monday's game. "I just have to keep the same mentality and keep attacking. I think I am unstoppable inside."

After Monday's game, the Sixers departed for China for their final two preseason games, Friday and Monday against the Dallas Mavericks.