James Harden, Joel Embiid join Tyrese Maxey – The Athletic

At the end of his Saturday night press conference, Joel Embiid stumbled upon a new statistic.

“I think it’s just about making the right plays over and over again. And I thought tonight was pretty good,” Embiid said. “That’s probably the first time I’ve played against Toronto with zero turnovers, which I’ve had to do a lot more.”

Close but not quite. On Saturday, Embiid played the Toronto Raptors for the 25th time in his career in the regular season and playoffs. There was another time he committed zero turnovers: Game 1 of the 2019 second-round series, which ended in a quadruple doink as the Sixers ran off the floor in Toronto and scored just 95 points.

That was very different. Embiid didn’t have a great scoring game – he only walked off the field 5 of 15 – but it’s also safe to say he’s handled the extra attention from the Raptors better than he has in his entire career. Embiid finished with four assists and zero turnovers, which doesn’t include many other on-time passes. That played a big part in the Sixers putting on one of the cleanest, cleanest playoff performances you’ll see, a 131-111 win that gives them a 1-0 lead in the series.

“I’m more mature in a way where there aren’t a lot of things that can frustrate me,” Embiid said. “I used to get very frustrated with doubles teams. It’s like these days, ‘Well, if that’s what you want, I’ll find other ways to make sure I’m making the right plays offensively. I don’t know, I think I’ve also gotten better offensively over the years. James Harden, Joel Embiid join Tyrese Maxey – The Athletic

Olly Dawes

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