Embiid dominates with 35-15-7-6 statline as Sixers destroy Blazers
LOS ANGELES – Joel Embiid unleashed a dominant performance with 35 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, six blocked shots and two steals on Sunday (Monday, Manila time) in Philadelphia's 126-98 NBA rout of Portland.
The reigning NBA Most Valuable Player delivered what 76ers coach Nick Nurse called a "super dominant" showing, lifting the Sixers to victory in their season home opener.
"He's always exceptional," 76ers guard De'Anthony Melton said. "He's always amazing for us. When he's playing like that, he's the best player in the league every night."
The 29-year-old Cameroonian big man made 12-of-22 shots from the floor, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range, and sank 9-of-11 from the free throw line in 29 minutes.
"That's my job, try to get better every single day," Embiid said. "It starts on defense, having that mentality to play it, lock down everything and block everything and offensively just trying to make the right plays.
"It's all about taking care of business. We got the win. I'm excited about that. We've still got a long way to go."
The haunting thing for 76ers' rivals is Embiid insists he must improve.
"I've still got to get better," he said. "I had a bad turnover toward the end. I had three of them. That I can correct. I missed some passes and defensively I could have done a better job. But I'm happy."
Tyrese Maxey added 26 points and 10 rebounds while Tobias Harris scored 24 to spark the Sixers, who expect to have unhappy guard James Harden back at practice on Tuesday.
Harden, a former MVP and three-time scoring champion who led the NBA in assists last season, hasn't played this season.
The 34-year-old guard has tried to get into shape and took part in a pre-game walkthrough on Sunday, with Nurse saying Harden has done well in conditioning.
Harden sought a trade in vain in the off-season and said his relationship with club officials can't be repaired.
Meanwhile, defending champion Denver improved to 3-0 as two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic had game highs of 28 points and 14 rebounds to lead a 128-95 blowout at Oklahoma City.
Michael Porter Jr. added 20 points and Jamal Murray had 19 for the Nuggets.
Stephen Curry scored 24 points, going 6-of-14 from 3-point