Doc Rivers saluted the impact and influence of Joel Embiid after his stellar showing drove the Philadelphia 76ers to a 122-110 win over the Boston Celtics.

Two days on from scoring 42 points in seeing off the Celtics, Embiid was on it once more against the same opposition, plundering 38 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.

With Tobias Harris weighing in with 23 points from 10-of-12 shooting, and Ben Simmons coming on strong with 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter, Philadelphia had an irresistible combination.

"We're just growing, you can see it," coach Rivers told a post-game news conference.

"When you look at Joel's numbers - 11 from 15 - he didn't force it a lot, made some great plays out. 

"He let it comes to him. Down the stretch when they were starting to trap him, instead of winning the ball he actually was trying to get the ball to move the ball.

"It says so many things to your teammates. Then when Ben got it going it was Joel who was wanting to call the pick and rolls to get him going more.

"I like how the chemistry of this team grows each night. During COVID it's hard to try to get chemistry and you can see it growing."

Rivers applauded the "quick decisions" that Harris made in the game, declaring that on his best form he is an "unbelievable" talent.

"He's a train going downhill," Rivers said. "He's got a beautiful shot. I love how he's playing. I love what confidence he's playing with."

Even when Harris takes to showboating, Rivers is prepared to stomach it.

"It's going to happen and that's fine. He is talented enough to do it, I just don't think he's efficient when he does it."

Rivers said Simmons' impact in the closing quarter was "awesome". As well as his priceless points, Simmons also had 11 assists.

"He's doing so many things for this team. His winning formula is amazing," Rivers said. "Ben does a lot. He can't focus on one thing like focusing on just scoring, he's too good for that for me.

"It would be a waste if that's all we focused on with him.

"What I did like is he went downhill more tonight and finished at the basket. That's what he has to do and that's what we're working on."

Collin Sexton made history after helping the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Brooklyn Nets for the second time in three days, 125-113 in the NBA on Friday.

After scoring 42 points in a double-overtime upset of the Nets on Wednesday, Cavaliers star Sexton was at it again with 25 points and nine assists against Brooklyn in Cleveland.

Sexton became the first player in Cavs history to post 20-plus points in each of his first 10 games of the season.

It was another tough outing for the star-studded Nets, who crashed to a second consecutive loss since Kyrie Irving returned following a seven-game absence.

In the absence of Kevin Durant (Achilles rehab), Irving had a game-high 38 points, while James Harden put up 19 points and 11 assists – his fourth double-double in four games since joining the Nets in a blockbuster trade from the Houston Rockets.

Joel Embiid produced another MVP-calibre performance as the Philadelphia 76ers overcame Eastern Conference rivals the Boston Celtics 122-110.

Embiid dominated with 38 points and 11 rebounds, after his 42-point double-double against the Celtics midweek. The three-time All-Star was 11-of-15 from the field, while he made both of his three-point attempts.

Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with a game-high 42 points in Philadelphia.

 

Young and Capela soar for Hawks, Kawhi fuels Clippers

Trae Young posted a season-high 43 points and Clint Capela recorded 13 points, 19 rebounds and 10 blocks to guide the Atlanta Hawks past the Minnesota Timberwolves 116-98. Capela became the third player in Hawks history with 10 blocks in a game, joining Dikembe Mutombo and Josh Smith.

The Los Angeles Clippers beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 120-106 for their sixth straight win behind Kawhi Leonard's 31 points in LA. Paul George added 29 points of his own for the in-form Clippers, who are tied with defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers for the NBA's best record at 12-4.

Another game, another double-double for Nikola Jokic. The Denver Nuggets star tallied his 15th double-double (31 points and 10 rebounds) in 15 games this season to help secure a 130-126 OT victory at the Phoenix Suns.

Luka Doncic fell just short of a triple-double after posting 36 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds in the Dallas Mavericks' 122-117 win against the San Antonio Spurs.

Gordan Hayward finished with 34 points but the Charlotte Hornets still lost 123-110 at home to the Chicago Bulls.

 

Collin in Young's shadow

Hawks power forward John Collins has reportedly been unhappy with Young running the team's offense, but he did little to stake his own case. Collins was just two-of-eight shooting from the field for four points in 28 minutes. The rookie has been averaging 15.9 points per game this season.

The Miami Heat boast some great three-point shooters in Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn, but last season's NBA Finals participants struggled from beyond the arc in their 101-81 rout at the hands of the Toronto Raptors. Miami were just 22.6 per cent from three-point range – three of 31.

 

Brogdon calls came

Trailing 118-117, Malcolm Brogdon nailed a three-pointer with 2.8 seconds remaining as the Indiana Pacers topped the Orlando Magic 120-118 in overtime.

 

Friday's results

Chicago Bulls 123-110 Charlotte Hornets
Houston Rockets 103-102 Detroit Pistons
Indiana Pacers 120-118 Orlando Magic (OT)
Cleveland Cavaliers 123-115 Brooklyn Nets
Philadelphia 76ers 122-110 Boston Celtics
Toronto Raptors 101-81 Miami Heat
Atlanta Hawks 116-98 Minnesota Timberwolves
Dallas Mavericks 122-117 San Antonio Spurs
Denver Nuggets 130-126 Phoenix Suns (OT)
Los Angeles Clippers 120-106 Oklahoma City Thunder
Sacramento Kings 103-94 New York Knicks
Washington Wizards-Milwaukee Bucks (postponed)
Memphis Grizzlies-Portland Trail Blazers (postponed)

 

Heat at Nets

The Nets (9-8) will look to snap a run of back-to-back defeats when they host Eastern Conference rivals the Heat (6-8) on Saturday.

There is no doubt Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid is performing at an MVP level following his monstrous double-double midweek, according to Tobias Harris.

The 76ers took down Eastern Conference rivals the Boston Celtics 117-109 thanks to Embiid's 42 points and 10 rebounds in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Embiid – returning to action following knee soreness – had 22 points in the first half as the three-time All-Star topped 40 points for the second time in three games, joining Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal as the only NBA players with multiple such performances.

There is only one other instance where a Sixers player had a 40 and 10 game on one or fewer turnovers since the three-point era – Embiid himself in 2019.

76ers team-mate Harris hailed Embiid, who is averaging 26.4 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game this season.

"It's not sort of, it's for sure MVP-calibre," Harris told reporters of Embiid after the 76ers improved to 10-5, and 8-1 on home court.

76ers head coach Doc Rivers was also full of praise following Embiid's mammoth display, which consisted of 12-of-19 shooting in 34 minutes.

"I'm not surprised at the level," Rivers said. "He's just more talented than even I knew. I knew he was extremely talented, but he has so many more gifts."

Harris, who signed a maximum contract at the start of 2019-20, contributed 22 points to help the 76ers past the Celtics.

His performance was not lost on Embiid, who added: "Tobias had a great night. He's playing at an All-Star level as he should be and he should be an All-Star."

"I just pride myself on doing whatever I can for our team," Harris said. "Making winning plays and the right play out there so that's just been my MO and I know my role as a player and I know what's asked of me night after night to be a leader and also to be a top player on this team and I’m embracing that."

While Ben Simmons did not have the best offensive outing, the two-time All-Star excelled defensively.

Simmons almost recorded a triple-double with 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, while he tallied two steals as he defended the likes of Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart.

"I thought Ben was unbelievable defensively," Rivers said. "First of all, we put him on Kemba tonight, we put him on Jaylen Brown tonight, put him on Marcus Smart tonight. It's amazing what he can do for us and tonight was a great example of that."

Joel Embiid produced another mammoth performance to lead the Philadelphia 76ers past Eastern Conference rivals the Boston Celtics 117-109 on Wednesday.

Embiid posted 42 points and 10 rebounds – going 12 of 19 from the floor in Philadelphia, where the three-time NBA All-Star scored 22 points in the first half.

Returning to action following knee soreness, Embiid topped 40 points for the second time in three games as he joined Bradley Beal as the only NBA players with multiple such performances.

There is only one other instance where a Sixers player had a 40 and 10 game on one or fewer turnovers since the three-point era – Embiid himself in 2019.

Luka Doncic recorded another triple-double as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Indiana Pacers 124-112 to snap a three-game losing streak.

Doncic put up 13 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists for his fifth triple-double of the season – tied for the most alongside Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic – and 30th of his career.

The 22-year-old is the youngest player to reach 30 career triple-doubles, while he is the second-fastest in terms of games played (146), eclipsing Magic Johnson (190) but behind Oscar Robertson (75).

 

Irving stars on return but Sexton outshines Nets trio

After a seven-game absence due to personal reasons, Kyrie Irving had 37 points in the Brooklyn Nets' 147-135 double overtime loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kevin Durant led the Nets with 38 points and 12 rebounds, and fellow superstar James Harden finished with a triple-double of 21 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. However, Collin Sexton's 42 points lifted the Cavaliers past Brooklyn's 'Big Three'.

Clint Capela had 27 points and a career-high 26 rebounds for the Atlanta Hawks, who outlasted the Detroit Pistons 123-115 in overtime. Trae Young scored 38 points and John Collins registered 31 points, while Detroit's Jerami Grant posted a career-high 32 points.

 

Lowry's shooting woes

While collecting 10 rebounds and tallying seven assists, Kyle Lowry was far from his best in the Toronto Raptors' 111-102 loss to the Miami Heat. Lowry was just two-of-12 from the field, while he made just one of 10 shots from three-point range for eight points in 36 minutes.

 

Anthony on the buzzer!

Cole Anthony did it all at the death. He grabbed the rebound and ran the length of the court before sinking the buzzer-beating shot to lift the Orlando Magic past the Minnesota Timberwolves 97-96.

Wednesday's results

Cleveland Cavaliers 147-135 Brooklyn Nets (OT)
Dallas Mavericks 124-112 Indiana Pacers
Philadelphia 76ers 117-109 Boston Celtics
Atlanta Hawks 123-115 Detroit Pistons (OT)
Miami Heat 111-102 Toronto Raptors
Orlando Magic 97-96 Minnesota Timberwolves
Phoenix Suns 109-103 Houston Rockets
Golden State Warriors 121-99 San Antonio Spurs
Los Angeles Clippers 115-96 Sacramento Kings
Washington Wizards-Charlotte Hornets (postponed)
Portland Trail Blazers-Memphis Grizzlies (postponed)

 

Lakers at Bucks

LeBron James and defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers (11-4) travel to face Giannis Antetokounmpo's Milwaukee Bucks (9-5) on Thursday. Both teams are coming off losses.

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers said he "expects" All-Star Joel Embiid to return for Wednesday's showdown with rivals the Boston Celtics.

Embiid sat out Saturday's 106-104 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies due to right knee soreness, and the three-time NBA All-Star would have been absent again if Sunday's clash against the Oklahoma City Thunder was not postponed.

But Embiid took part in practice on Tuesday and Rivers is bracing for the 76ers center to make a comeback as two of the Eastern Conference's best teams meet midweek.

"I do expect him to go," Rivers said. "He was in and out of practice today, we didn't let him do a lot of stuff, but he looked pretty good."

Embiid – an early MVP candidate – is averaging 25.0 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game for the 76ers (9-5) this season.

The 26-year-old has relied on his jump shot even more this season but has instead taken most of them inside the arc.

Embiid – whose 76ers are 9-2 when he plays and 0-3 without him this term – has seen his jump shot field-goal percentage rise 8.2 per cent to 45.6 per cent in 2020-21.

The 76ers have been hampered by the coronavirus pandemic, with Philadelphia left shorthanded since Seth Curry's positive COVID-19 test on January 7.

Philadelphia and Oklahoma City were scheduled to meet at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Sunday, but the 76ers did not have the required eight players available because of contact tracing with the team.

But the 76ers – minus Curry – were back to full strength for Tuesday's practice, much to the delight of Rivers.

"It was nice," said Rivers. "We're not one of those teams that have the luxury of being together for several years. We have so many new bodies, a new system, new coach, everything.

"To have all those games and no practice and then to have all those guys out, and even your shoot arounds are not what you expect them to be, it absolutely has affected us."

Rivers added: "Even on a couple of days we have a somewhat of a practice, we didn't have enough guys to practice. Today was a day we had enough guys, we can change, we can sub in practice and put different units on the floor."

Joel Embiid was the headline act as the Philadelphia 76ers held on to beat the Miami Heat 137-134 in overtime, while NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers won again.

Embiid went berserk with a 45-point, 16-rebound double-double, and a career-high five steals and four assists, in a dominant performance to help the 76ers past the shorthanded Heat in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

The three-time All-Star had 10 points in the first half before carrying the 76ers with a stellar third quarter and clutch buckets in OT against the Heat, who were missing the likes of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic.

Embiid sent the game into overtime with a pull-up jumper 4.3 seconds from the end in the fourth period, while Dakota Mathias' only basket of the game – a go-ahead three-pointer with 26.1 seconds remaining – ensured the 76ers prevailed.

Philadelphia's Embiid became the first 76ers player with 45 points, 16 rebounds, five steals and four assists in a game in franchise history since 1973-74, while he became the first NBA player with those stats since 1983-84.

In Houston, LeBron James starred as the in-form Lakers took down the Rockets for the second time in three days, winning 117-100.

James posted a game-high 26 points, eight rebounds and five assists to help the Lakers improve to 9-3 atop the Western Conference.

Anthony Davis contributed 19 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks for the Lakers.

 

Green sets career high

Danny Green had a game to remember for the 76ers. He set a new career high with nine three-pointers against the Heat. It also tied a franchise record for the most three-pointers in a game, joining Dana Barros in 1995. The two-time NBA champion finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds.

Kevin Durant flexed his muscles again, scoring 34 points, tallying 13 assists and grabbing nine rebounds as the Brooklyn Nets trumped the Denver Nuggets 122-116. Nikola Jokic had 23 points and 11 assists for the Nuggets.

 

Harden – out of shape and out of sorts

James Harden's uninspiring start to the season continued amid ongoing trade rumours. The former MVP – looking out of shape – made just five of 16 shots from the field, while he only nailed one of his six three-point attempts for 16 points in 31 minutes.

Rudy Gobert got paid in the offseason, signing a stunning contract in excess of $200million. He was far from convincing in the Utah Jazz's 117-87 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. While the 2020 All-Star collected 10 rebounds, he finished with just four points on two-of-seven shooting from the field in 25 minutes. Gobert also had two turnovers.

 

LeBron trolls Rockets

As a four-time champion and NBA MVP, James has faith in his ability. The Lakers superstar took it to another level when he nailed a no-look three-pointer against the Rockets.

Tuesday's results

Philadelphia 76ers 137-134 Miami Heat (OT)
Brooklyn Nets 122-116 Denver Nuggets
Utah Jazz 117-87 Cleveland Cavaliers
Los Angeles Lakers 117-100 Houston Rockets
San Antonio Spurs 112-102 Oklahoma City Thunder
Indiana Pacers 104-95 Golden State Warriors
Boston Celtics-Chicago Bulls (postponed)

 

Nets at Knicks

Bragging rights will be on the line when the New York Knicks (5-6) host city rivals the Brooklyn Nets (6-6) on Wednesday.

Bradley Beal insisted "I don't give a damn" after tying a franchise points record for the Washington Wizards in their defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Beal's career-high 60 points on Wednesday could not prevent a 141-136 loss at Wells Fargo Center as the Wizards slipped to 2-6 for the season.

The 27-year-old was 20-of-35 on shooting, including seven-of-10 from three-point range, as he equalled Gilbert Arenas' franchise best against the Los Angeles Lakers back in 2006.

Still, the two-time All Star took little pride in recording a personal best in another loss.

"I'm p***** off," Beal said. "I'm mad. I don't count [them]. Any of my career highs, they've been in losses. So I don't give a damn. You can throw it right out the window with the other two or three I've had.

"I just want to win. Sometimes you might be able to score 40, 50, 60, whatever the case may be, but I just want to win, whatever that looks like. We came up a little bit short."

Beal's spectacular 57 points in the first 36 minutes proved futile as Philadelphia closed out a high-scoring contest, making 61.7 per cent from the field throughout.

Washington tied the scores at 119 each after having trailed by 10 at the start of the fourth quarter, but Joel Embiid led the 76ers to a strong finish, sinking a three-point jumper from 28 feet.

"I think they got stops and made more plays than we did down the stretch," Beal said when asked what made the difference late on. "I think Embiid hit a tough three... they were making a lot of shots. They hit a lot of tough shots.

"They shot 60 per cent from the field and 62 per cent from three. You can't win a game like that."

For Embiid, it was all part of the service.

"They pay me to take over the game," he said after making 38 points, eight rebounds and five assists. "They pay me to dominate. That's my job.

"I always give credit to my teammates. [But] I finished."

Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are showing they each have the ability to be Defensive Player of the Year, according to Philadelphia 76ers team-mate Danny Green.

The Sixers were 127-112 winners against the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday, with Simmons' 29th career triple-double leading the way.

The 24-year-old, who made the All-Defensive First Team in 2020, also had had a block and a steal to go with his 15 points, 11 assists and 12 rebounds, of which 11 were on the defensive end.

Team-mate Embiid - twice selected to the All-Defensive Second Team - balanced his 19 points with 11 defensive rebounds, a steal and an assist, too.

Green said of the pair after Philly moved to 5-1 at the top of the East: "They can be monstrous for us defensively.

"I think they have the potential, both of them, to be Defensive Player of the Year with their size, ability, reflexes, their footwork."

Coach Doc Rivers was on the same page, too, adding: "Ben has been, in my opinion, as good as anyone in the league defensively.

"Then having Joel to back him up, that combination defensively allows you to do a lot of things that you probably wouldn't do when you have the size of those two guys."

But the Sixers' two star names were not the only players contributing on both ends of the floor against Charlotte.

Tobias Harris was particularly impressive in a dominant display that led his team in scoring with 24 points but also included nine rebounds, six assists, four steals and three blocks.

Six games into the season, Harris is averaging career highs in rebounds (8.5), assists (3.2, same as 2019-20), steals (1.5) and blocks (1.5), and Simmons has noted the improvement.

"On both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively, he's been amazing," he said. "He's been an amazing factor for our team and he's going to be if we want to win a championship."

Simmons added: "We've got a good group, the chemistry's good off the floor. It makes it even better when you're winning, playing the right way, sharing the ball.

"Guys aren't worried about who's scoring the ball, as long as we're scoring and winning games.

"That's what it's all about for us. Our goal is to win a championship, and to do that, we need everybody."

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers hailed Joel Embiid following his game-winning and record-equalling display against the Toronto Raptors.

Embiid posted a third consecutive double-double to help the 76ers rally past the Raptors 100-93 in NBA action in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

The three-time All-Star, who missed the loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers due to a stiff back, returned to post 29 points and 16 rebounds against the winless Raptors.

Embiid became the first 76ers player to score at least 25 points and 10 rebounds in each of his first three games in a season since Charles Barkley in 1986-87.

"He was terrific, dominant," Rivers said post-game. "I thought he made the three best plays down the stretch by passes.

"He got the ball out of the post, swung it, got the ball again, swung it to Seth [Curry] for a three, and that's how we have to play."

Rivers added: "Embiid is a dominant basketball player and the other teams are going to send people. We work on it every day, everyone getting into the right spots. So Joel doesn't have to think. He can just pass it and he did that tonight."

Embiid put up 18 points – 12 in the second quarter – six rebounds, two assists, one steal and a block in the first half.

"I'm just doing my job, but you got to give a lot of credit," said Embiid. "Tobias [Harris] came up big, Seth hit a big shot.

"We, as a team, we all had a great defensive fourth quarter. Offensively, we just moved the ball."

The 76ers – eyeing their first championship since 1983 – trailed by as many as 14 points before clawing their way back to improve to 3-1 for the season.

"These games are great for your character," Rivers said. "You've just gotta keep playing. I was really happy."

Ben Simmons, meanwhile, lauded 76ers team-mate Tobias Harris – who finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds to help fuel Philadelphia's comeback.

"He was huge," Simmons said of Harris. "Whenever you have somebody going, you want to keep feeding them, and going with that momentum.

"He was great for us and Joel also was dominant so those two guys together had great offensive games and then defensively as a team, we really stepped up."

Joel Embiid confronted claims he was opposed to the Philadelphia 76ers bringing in Tyronn Lue by saying he had "nothing to do" with the process of hiring coaches.

The 76ers were seeking a new leader after Brett Brown was fired in the wake of their 4-0 loss to the Boston Celtics in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

They plumped for Doc Rivers, whose appointment was announced in early October, but not until after looking at other candidates.

Among those was Lue, yet reports have claimed Embiid had objections to him coming in, with The Athletic pointing to tactical reasons and the sense that Lue had connections to fellow 76ers superstar Ben Simmons.

Embiid was asked about the report and said: "You've got to control what you can. I just try to come in every single day and do my job. These guys have put a lot of trust in me to make it happen.

"Those types of decisions, I'm not a GM [general manager], I'm not in the front office so that has nothing to do with me."

The 26-year-old Embiid told US reporters in a video call: "I've always told them that they've got to do whatever is best for the team so if they thought Doc was the right coach for us, then, I trust them.

"If they didn't think any of the other candidates were not the right choice for us, then I trust them. I'm sure that they did the background check.

"All I'll say is that we had a lot of great candidates, all of them are great. Ty, he's won a championship. I think we were looking at Mike D'Antoni who was an assistant coach with us and then Doc came in the picture so I thought the choice they made could have gone either way. Either of them would have been great for this team."

Lue went on to be named head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers in late October, succeeding Rivers who resigned in September after a 4-3 series loss to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semi-finals. He had previously served as assistant to Rivers with the Clippers.

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers was pleased with what he saw from Joel Embiid in the pre-season win over the Boston Celtics, despite the center not being the focal point on offense. 

Embiid contributed 18 points in just 17 minutes of playing time during Philadelphia's 108-99 win over their Eastern Conference rivals on Tuesday. 

The three-time NBA All-Star missed all four of his three-point attempts in the contest, yet Rivers felt the way he contributed during his limited time on the floor was a blueprint for the future. 

The 76ers are beginning a new chapter under Rivers, who accepted the job opportunity in Philadelphia just days after parting ways with the Los Angeles Clippers.

"Phenomenal," Rivers said of Embiid after the game. "It's a great example for Joel. We ran our stuff, but we didn't run his stuff, and he still got 18.

"That's one of the things that I was telling him, we can run continuity offense, and not even run any plays for you, but you're still going to end up with the ball because you're the best player, and you'll see that happen.

"That did happen, and I thought that was a great thing for Joel."

The 76ers turned to Rivers to replace Brett Brown, who was fired after the team were swept by the Celtics in the opening round of the NBA playoffs.

As well as a coaching change, Philadelphia also completed trades for Danny Green, Seth Curry and Tony Bradley during a busy offseason, as well as adding Dwight Howard in free agency.

Tyrese Maxey was selected with the 21st pick in the draft too, and the rookie impressed against the Celtics, scoring eight points while playing 12 minutes off the bench.

The 76ers go up against the Indiana Pacers in another pre-season game on Friday, then open their 2020-21 campaign against the Washington Wizards on December 23.

Joel Embiid is eyeing a 20-year career with the Philadelphia 76ers as he talked up a new training regime following a disappointing 2019-20 NBA season.

Embiid and the 76ers were far from their best following a first-round series sweep against Eastern Conference rivals the Boston Celtics inside the Orlando bubble at Walt Disney World Resort amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The fitness of Embiid – the third pick in the 2014 draft – has always been a topic of discussion, with the three-time All-Star's longevity often in the spotlight as the 76ers chase their first championship since 1983.

As the 76ers prepare for the 2020-21 campaign under new head coach Doc Rivers, Embiid told reporters on Thursday: "This summer is the one that I really tried to really focus on it. By just having my own chef, nutritionist, my own [physical therapist] and massage therapist.

"Just doing whatever I can to take care of my body and so I'm able to play 20 years here in Philly. I think that's the thing I've learned the most since I've been in the league, and it was a short time between the end of this past season and this new season, but it's a work in progress.

"You've got to start somewhere but it's been going great, and I'm still learning every single day."

Embiid has established himself as one of the best big men in the league but he has still been criticised for his lack of consistency and poor fitness at times.

The 26-year-old wanted to carry the 76ers in the absence of injured All-Star Ben Simmons and while averaging 30.0 points and 12.3 rebounds per game in the playoffs – an increase on his regular-season averages of 23.0 points and 11.6 rebounds, which were a dip on his 2018-19 numbers – he looked worn out.

There could be some concern that he does not play well at the end of close games. In his career – regular season and playoffs – Embiid has had 17 potential game-tying or go-ahead shots in the last 30 seconds of the fourth quarter and overtime, and he is just one-for-17.

The only shot he made was a dunk against the Cleveland Cavaliers in November 2019.

Philadelphia head into the new season with renewed optimism following the arrivals of championship-winning duo Danny Green and Dwight Howard, plus sharp-shooter Seth Curry, after Al Horford and Josh Richardson were traded.

"The main thing is winning,” Embiid added. "Like I said in the past when you win, everybody wins. If we win, that means all these awards, I'm up there for those considerations.

"As a player of my, I guess my talent should always be in MVP conversations or Defensive Player of the Year conversations and all NBA. It should be like that every single year. So, to be able to accomplish that you got to win so I think that's the main thing.

"Winning cures everything, it makes everybody happy. It's going to help me when it comes to awards and stuff so that’s the thing that, we, as a team we really got to focus on."

The 76ers will face the Celtics (Tuesday) and Indiana Pacers (December 18) in preseason before opening their campaign against the Washington Wizards on December 23.

Ben Simmons believes he can help lead the Philadelphia 76ers to an NBA title alongside Joel Embiid.

Doc Rivers has replaced Brett Brown as head coach of the 76ers, who have reached the playoffs in each of the past three seasons but are without a championship since 1983.

Simmons' chemistry with Embiid has been questioned, although Philadelphia have a 64.7 win percentage when they both play compared to 41.6 when one or both misses a game since 2016-17.

The top pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Simmons believes the 76ers – who have added the likes of Dwight Howard, Danny Green and Seth Curry in the offseason – are on the right track ahead of the upcoming campaign.

"I think Joel and I both realise how unique and special this moment is. For two guys, like us, to be on the same team at a young age," Simmons said.

"You know everybody wanted it [for him and Embiid to be coached by Brown] for the first couple of years, but it didn't happen and it doesn't work like that.

"We have a new opportunity, we have new guys on the team, new leadership. And I think we can go all the way. I wouldn't be sitting here if I didn't believe it and I don't think Dwight would be either if he didn't believe it."

Simmons, who averaged 16.4 points, eight assists and 7.8 rebounds during the 2019-20 regular season, joked he was moving in with Embiid.

Meanwhile, Embiid also dismissed reports which questioned his relationship with Simmons.

"I mean we can't hang out off the court. I have got a newborn, I've got a family to take care of, trying to stay safe, I don't want to get the virus and I don't want to give it to anybody," he said.

"I am going to do the same thing that I have always done and that is to make sure I always protect my family, and the people I am around, and then also my team-mates. It is just doing the right things.

"But we have been texting a lot, we have been communicating a lot. The notion of what people have been saying in the past, I just don't think it's true. You know, on the court, if you are looking at two years ago, when we had a lot of space and we were able to dominate together. That was just the way to go. And, last year was just different because we didn't have... that wasn't the same as we have always had. To be able to do the same things that we've been doing in the last couple of years.

"Our relationship is great. We have been way closer, even on the court. If we have got to walk out, we are walking out together as a group. If we gotta play two on two, I want him on my team. You know just playing ball together and just going from there.

"You know the national media always trying to create stories because they don't have anything to talk about, but we are fine. We know where we are, we know what our goals are and we know what it takes to accomplish it. We have been through a lot and we are just going to keep working hard and stay together to try to make it [winning a championship] happen."

The 76ers begin their 2020-21 season against the Washington Wizards on December 23.

Philadelphia 76ers recruit Dwight Howard believes Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons can click like the Los Angeles Lakers' NBA championship-winning duo LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Howard will play in Philadelphia in 2020-21 after teaming up with superstar pair James and Davis to help the Lakers to NBA glory last season.

Veteran big man Howard will now try to guide the 76ers to their first championship since 1983, combining with another All-Star duo – Embiid and Simmons.

Much has been said about franchise pillars Embiid and Simmons, and their compatibility as the 76ers prepare for life under new head coach Doc Rivers, who replaced Brett Brown following a first-round sweep at the hands of Eastern Conference rivals the Boston Celtics in 2019-20.

Eight-time All-Star Howard has advice for Embiid and Simmons, telling reporters on Thursday: "I've been in that situation multiple times, going to a team that has another star — Charlotte, Atlanta, Houston, L.A., D.C. — playing alongside other stars.

"Sometimes it can be difficult because you want to be that guy, and watching AD and LeBron, everything they did was together.

"They worked out together, they ate together, they rode bikes together. We called them the brothers. They were always playing together — playing video games, doing something. … Ben and Joel, they have to be that way.

"They have to know each other so much on and off the court that when they're playing, it's just natural. 'OK, I know Jo needs a touch right now, let me get him an easy bucket'. 'Ah, Ben is frustrated, let me set a screen for him, get him a couple dunks, couple shots at the rim just to get him going'.

"Once you're willing to give yourself up, great things tend to happen for you. … I can see that in Ben and Jo. Those two guys together, putting aside any ego, pride or anything, and saying, 'Hey, we're both for one mission, and that's to win a championship, and it starts and finishes with us two'.

"And I saw that with LeBron and AD. They put everything on their shoulders. They knew they had guys around them but it was, 'OK, LeBron. OK, AD. We've gotta do this, it starts with us. We've gotta be on the same page at all times'. And they did a really good job of it."

When Embiid and Simmons play, the 76ers boast a 119-65 win-loss record, per Stats Perform. But without one or both, they greatly suffer (67-94), Embiid's physicality in the paint and Simmons' superior defensive skills vital in Philadelphia.

The 76ers average 111.7 points, 107.5 opposition points, 47.4 rebounds and 26.4 assists per game with Embiid and Simmons involved, a clear improvement compared to when one or both miss a game – 106.7 points, 109.4 opposition points, 44.5 rebounds and 25.0 assists.

Philadelphia also have a superior field goal percentage (46.9) when Embiid and Simmons both play, with the 76ers shooting just 45.3 per cent without one or both. Opposition numbers also go up in their absence – field goal percentage (44.3 to 46.2) and three-point percentage (34.1 to 35.5).

"Playing alongside Jo and Ben, I think for me it's just giving them a sense that they can do anything," he said. "For Joel, it's just pushing him every single day to know that he's the best, and every time he steps on the floor he has to be the best player on the floor — whether that be practice, in the weight room, in the training room, during all the games. It's 'I'm the best player on the floor. I'm going to show it through my actions on offense and defense'.

"For me, it's really just cleaning up their mistakes, pushing them to be the best and just providing them with knowledge through my experiences. I see so much potential in Ben and Jo that I just want to see them succeed.

"I see so much potential out of those two — what they can bring to a team, the championships that they can have — just all the blessings they can get from playing this great game of basketball. I really just want to be that person to help push them toward their greatness."

Dwight Howard believes Ben Simmons can become one of the greatest to ever play in the NBA as he compared the Philadelphia 76ers All-Star to LeBron James.

Howard will team up with Simmons and Joel Embiid in Philadelphia after leaving NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers for the 76ers via free agency.

An eight-time All-Star, Howard won a title alongside Lakers superstar James in Los Angeles and he is relishing the opportunity to play with former number one draft pick Simmons in Philadelphia.

Simmons – an elite defender and creator with unrivalled pace – averaged 16.4 points, 8.0 assists and 7.8 rebounds per game last season before injury cut short his campaign as the 76ers were swept by the Boston Celtics in the opening round of the playoffs.

"Ben Simmons is a young LeBron ... I love the way he plays. I love how unselfish he is, and how mean he can be to other teams, and that's important," Howard told reporters on Wednesday.

"When you have your point guard coming down, dunking on people, flexing, getting big rebounds, talking trash, doing all those things, it drives you to want to be better.

"He has an opportunity to be one of the greatest to ever play the game, and I'm glad I have the opportunity to actually give him some things that can help him along the way."

Howard arrives in the city of Brotherly Love with one thing on his mind – delivering the 76ers their first championship since 1983.

Much has been said about franchise pillars Embiid and Simmons, and their compatibility as the 76ers prepare for life under new head coach Doc Rivers, who replaced Brett Brown.

When Embiid and Simmons play, the 76ers boast a 119-65 win-loss record, per Stats Perform. But without one or both, they greatly suffer (67-94), Embiid's physicality in the paint and Simmons' superior defensive skills vital in Philadelphia.

The 76ers average 111.7 points, 107.5 opposition points, 47.4 rebounds and 26.4 assists per game with Embiid and Simmons involved, a clear improvement compared to when one or both miss a game – 106.7 points, 109.4 opposition points, 44.5 rebounds and 25.0 assists.

Philadelphia also have a superior field goal percentage (46.9) when Embiid and Simmons both play, with the 76ers shooting just 45.3 per cent without one or both. Opposition numbers also go up in their absence – field goal percentage (44.3 to 46.2) and three-point percentage (34.1 to 35.5).

"There's a lot of things," Howard replied when asked why he thinks the Sixers – who also recruited Seth Curry and Danny Green – can win a title. "You have two great young stars in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, I'm going to start there. Those guys, to me I watched when Joel lost [to the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference semi-finals in 2019] and how bad it hurt, he just cried, and I know what that feels like. I've been in that moment before where it's like, 'Man, I gave everything I had. I put it all on the line and I came up short.'

"It doesn't sit well with you, it stays with you for a really long time. So with him I know he has a fire inside of him, and we've all seen glimpses of it all year, and I think this is the year where it's about being focused. I see focus in him, I see focus in Ben, and that's where it starts with our two best players.

"Then you look at the rest of the guys on our team, they've all been hungry, they just never knew how to win. And I think by adding a guy like Danny Green and myself, we just fresh off of winning a championship, and I think we all know what it takes to really get to the next level.

"And I think this is a really great opportunity. You have a coach always talking about winning, how important it is to win, and you have some players who just want it. I think this year with the focus this team will have and the drive that we have to be successful, this will be our year."

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