CAMDEN, NJ – Whether it was Brook Lopez or Andrew Bogut at the outset of the game, or Julius Randle down the stretch, guarding Joel Embiid was no easy venture for the Los Angeles Lakers the last time they faced the 76ers.
Against the Purple and Gold November 15th at STAPLES Center, Embiid, simply put, was an overpowering force, leaving his mark with a massive box line highlighted by 46 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists, and 7 blocked shots. Before the tilt’s tip, no NBA player of record had ever reached those numbers in a single game.
Embiid achieved the feat, in part, by attacking the Lakers’ post defenders with an array of jaw-dropping scoring maneuvers – wing jumpers, 3-pointers, putbacks, step-throughs, spin moves, up-and-unders, and dunks. He went 14 for 20 from the field, nailed 16 of 19 free throws, and, most important of all to him, committed a mere 2 turnovers.
Yes, Embiid was unstoppable that night. But on the eve of Thursday’s re-match with L.A. (8:00 PM EST; TNT, 97.5 FM The Fanatic / Sixers Radio Network), Brett Brown wasn’t expecting history to repeat itself, literally or figuratively.
“You’d be really shocked if they do what they did again,” Brown said Wednesday at the 76ers Training Complex. “We’re not game-planning for that at all.”
In the first go-round with the Lakers, the lasting impression left on Brown was that in the midst of an incredible fourth quarter effort that saw Embiid deliver some of his most dazzling sequences, Randle was essentially left to deal with Embiid on his own. Embiid has about 4 inches in height, and 30 pounds in weight on Randle, a fellow 2014 lottery pick. He seized the moment accordingly.
Listen to NBA on TNT reporter David Aldridge discuss the 76ers, and their promising start to the season:
During the final frame alone, Embiid racked up 19 points on 6 for 7 shooting, as the Sixers put the game out of reach.
“The last period was just very singular on my aspect of let’s just…