LOS ANGELES — It was Joel Embiid Career Night at the Staples Center.
The center finished with career highs of 46 points, seven assists and seven blocks Wednesday night in a 115-109 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. Embiid also had career bests in made field goals (14), made free throws (16), and free-throw attempts (19). He added 15 rebounds to finish with his second straight double-double and his sixth of the season. Embiid tied his season low for turnovers with two; he averages 4.4 per game.
“I was just playing basketball basically,” Embiid said of being in a groove. “They just kept throwing the ball to me in the post. And I kept finding new ways to score the ball, and I went to the free-throw line. That’s where I was best at last year. I felt like today I did a great job.”
The 7-foot-2, 282-pounder even had a big hand in Lakers reserve post player Julius Randle’s fouling out with 24.8 seconds left.
“And with me using different moves and attacking them, they didn’t really know what to do,” Embiid said.
The Eurostep and Hakeem Olajuwon’s “Dream Shake” were two of the many moves he used to score against the Lakers. In the process, he became the first player in NBA history with at least 46 points, 15 rebounds, seven blocks and seven assists in a game. He became the first Sixer to score at least 40 since Allen Iverson had 45 on Nov. 27, 2006.
“I wish I could have had a quadruple-double with blocks — shoutout, [Miami Heat center] Hassan Whiteside,” Embiid said. “But like I said, I just went out there and played basketball and played the right way.
“I wasn’t forcing nothing, Playing with my teammates, passing the ball.”
The turnover total was the thing he was most happy about.
Teammate Ben Simmons also had a solid game. The point guard finished with 18 points, 10 assists, nine rebounds, five steals, one block and just one turnover for his ninth double-double of the season. He was one rebound shy of his third triple-double.
The victory improved the Sixers to 8-6 as they won for the seventh time in the last nine games. They are on their best start through 14 games since 2012-13, when the Sixers also went 8-6.
Nineteen of Embiid’s points came in the fourth quarter of this close game. With the Sixers down one, he converted a three-point play to put the Sixers ahead, 103-101, with a little more than four minutes to play.
Simmons followed that with a 10-foot jumper on the ensuing possession. After the Lakers pulled within one point, Embiid made a pair of foul shots to give the Sixers a 107-104 lead with 2 minutes, 52 seconds remaining.
The Sixers opened up an eight-point cushion (112-104) after a three-pointer by Robert Covington and a jumper by JJ Redick. The Lakers pulled within four points with 46.5 seconds left. However, Embiid scored a layup with 26.1 seconds remaining to make it a 114-108 game.
“He’s a beast,” Simmons said. “He’s been doing really well, [and] he’s been getting better every game. We’re getting better playing together.”
This game featured the much-anticipated matchup between Simmons and the Lakers’ Lonzo Ball. The point guards entered the season as the leading candidates to win rookie of the year. Simmons has since separated himself from Ball, who has been struggling.
Ball finished with two points on only 1-for-9 shooting. The 6-6, 190-pounder missed all six of his three-point attempts. He was benched in fourth quarter for the second consecutive game.
Brandon Ingram led the Lakers (6-9) with 26 points and 11 rebounds.