76ers' Joel Embiid Says He Had 'Bad Game' After Scoring 24 in Return from Injury

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 4, 2021

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid reacts to no call on a shot at the end of the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Saturday, April 3, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

Joel Embiid scored 24 points, grabbed eight rebounds and swatted three shots in 29 minutes in Saturday's 122-113 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, looking solid in his first game in three weeks after suffering a knee injury.

While most people would be perfectly happy with that stat line at any point—let alone after a three-week layoff—Embiid wasn't satisfied.

"It was a great win, but I had a bad game," Embiid told reporters after the game. "I'm trying to get my rhythm back and just trying to get back in a groove."

Embiid, who was the MVP favorite before he hyperextended his knee March 12 against the Wizards, showed particular rust with his shooting. He finished 6-of-14 from the field overall, missing all four of his three-point attempts, and was an uncharacteristic 12-of-17 from the free-throw line. For the season, Embiid is shooting 40.4 percent from three and 85.2 percent from the free-throw line.

"I thought he played OK. You could see the rust. We turned the ball over a little bit, and we didn't execute very well down the stretch of the game," Sixers coach Doc Rivers said.

Even if Embiid wasn't quite at his MVP-caliber self, the Sixers will be more than happy to have him back in the lineup for the season's stretch run. The 34-15 Sixers are now tied with the Brooklyn Nets for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

They'll need Embiid in MVP form sooner than later to clinch home-court advantage.