We know the gesture by heart. Joel Embiid puts his hands close to his ears, and in front of the opposing audience, he waits for the whistles or… silence. That night, after missing a dunk, he quickly made up for two next possessions, and he couldn’t help but taunt Wizards fans.
“I missed my dunk and their fans made it clear to me” he recounts. “I had another chance, and wanted to hear more whistles. It motivates me. I love to play outside. I imagine that a solution would be for them to encourage me. I don’t know… I like when people hiss at me or talk badly to me… ”
He could afford to chamber the public of the Wizards because he quickly put out their whistles by making his career best game in the playoffs: 36 points to 14 of 18 on shots, including 3 of 4 at 3-point, with 8 rebounds, 3 interceptions and 1 against. All in just 28 minutes!
This time, the Wizards had decided not to make a systematic two-way strike, and Joel Embiid found himself in one-on-one against Alex Len, Robin Lopez, Rui Hachimura or Daniel Gafford, and he had a great time. with in particular a beautiful work of feints, and of course its power.
“It’s hard to stop me if you don’t send a two-way take”
« I can’t imagine anyone playing better than him. Tonight it was MVP level. It is clearly difficult to manage Admits Scott Brooks who has spent the evening looking for solutions. But Joel Embiid is an adult among children in this series. Technically, it’s a very high level, and since he doesn’t force, and his shooters are skilful, it’s an ideal playground for him.
“It was one-on-one, and I wanted to take advantage of it” he explains. “I imagine they were the ones who made that choice, and it’s hard to stop me if you don’t send a two-way take.” “
Indeed, the Wizards had decided to leave him alone against his defender, whether at 45 ° or in the axis. It’s too easy for him, and as he is as effective from near as from far, it gives a rare performance: 36 points in 28 minutes. In the story, only Paul George had reached 35 points in less time (25 minutes).
But Joel Embiid is wary of the Wizards’ pride reaction. “The job is not done. There is still the 4th to go and get, and for the moment, we can not be satisfied yet. You have to keep the same focus, the same aggressiveness, the same willingness to find each other in attack, and the result will come of itself. “