KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Joel Embiid is known for scoring and rebounding.
The 76ers center’s ability in those areas has been on full display through two seeding games during the NBA restart. Embiid will take averages of 34 points and 15 rebounds into Wednesday’s game against the Washington Wizards on the ESPN Wide World of Sports campus.
Yet his passing stood out in Monday’s 132-130 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs (29-37) sent double teams his way, and the three-time All-Star did a good job of passing out of them. Those types of situations often were a turnover waiting to happen before the NBA halted play in March due to the coronavirus.
“I thought Joel was great tonight,” coach Brett Brown said following Monday’s game. “With the exception of the one late, it was a one-handed pass across court, it got stolen. I thought Joel was great, not good. I thought he was great tonight.”
Embiid has been working on making better decisions against double teams since the shutdown. He put his work to use Monday and in Saturday’s 127-121 loss to the Indiana Pacers.
“Just being down low and dominating no matter what’s going on on the court,” Embiid said of his focus.
He concentrated on getting his teammates involved during the first half of Monday’s game. But after intermission, the offense ran through Embiid and the Spurs kept double-teaming him.
“Whether scoring the ball or passing out of it, I felt like we all collectively did a good job,” said Embiid, who finished with 27 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 turnovers as the Sixers improved to 40-27. “It wasn’t just me. My teammates were in the right spot, and I just made the right pass and they were knocking down shots.”
Brown said Sunday that Josh Richardson has to be aggressive even with Embiid, Tobias Harris, and Ben Simmons receiving the bulk of the play calls. The shooting guard got the message early in Monday’s game, scoring 10 first-quarter points while in attack mode.
Richardson went on to make just 5 of 15 shots, but he kept attacking and finished with 19 points. Richardson had only 4 points on Saturday.