The Philadelphia 76ers are once again dominant at home.
Joel Embiid had 26 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists and JJ Redick added 24 points as the Sixers earned a wire-to-wire 117-91 win over the New York Knicks on Wednesday.
The Sixers put up 41 first-quarter points and never trailed, shooting 54.0 percent from the floor against a listless Knicks team. Ben Simmons had 14 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for Philly, which had its 10-game home winning streak snapped Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Enes Kanter scored a team-high 17 points for the Knicks. Rookie Kevin Knox finished with only nine points in 23 minutes.
Joel Embiid Deserves to Be 1B in MVP Race With Giannis
Giannis Antetokounmpo is the MVP front-runner after the first quarter of the 2018-19 season. He can't shoot to save his life right now—his 12.5 percent mark from deep would be the worst in NBA history for someone with his volume—yet he's averaging roughly 27 points, 13 rebounds and six assists for the East's most ascendant team.
With that said, Embiid is doing his best to close the gap.
Embiid has at least 24 points and 11 rebounds in each of his past six games, four of which featured 30-point performances. This is his sixth game with at least five assists this season, putting him on pace to double the 13 he had last season.
"The reality of how important he is to our team is ever-present," Sixers head coach Brett Brown told reporters last week. "How can we all not notice how dominant he's been?"
The Sixers have dominated opponents when Embiid plays and have fallen apart when he sits, a trend that dates back to his rookie season. He's the best center in basketball and is the fulcrum of what the Sixers do on both ends of the floor, even with Jimmy Butler now in the mix. Butler likely feels relieved that he doesn't have to shoulder such a large load anymore.
The Sixers have won six of their last seven games and are only a half-game behind Milwaukee for the No. 2 seed in the East as of publication. If Philly eclipses Milwaukee in the East and Embiid stays healthy, this will turn into a two-horse MVP race.
Either way, the MVP figures to come out of the East this season.