PHILADELPHIA-Philadelphia 76ers star big man Joel Embiid is one of the more dominant players in the game. Standing at 7 feet tall, the big fella can pretty much do it all. If he needs to score in the post, he can do that. If he needs to knock down some jumpers, he can do that too as well as take defenders off the dribble.
On Saturday afternoon, Embiid did it all. He had 44 points on 18-for-31 shooting with 18 rebounds to lead Philadelphia to a 126-119 win over the Denver Nuggets who entered the contest in possession of the No. 1 seed in the West.
"Just trying to be aggressive," said Embiid. "Coming off a bad game on Wednesday, just wanted to be more aggressive as far as just attacking the rim and trying to get us the win."
It doesn't seem like it's a coincidence that this game by Embiid comes after being snubbed on the announcement of the All-Star starters despite averaging a ridiculous 33.4 points entering Saturday and already scoring 50 points in a game twice on the season.
On top of that, it was a matchup with Nikola Jokic who has won the MVP award in each of the past two seasons with Embiid finishing as the runner-up. However, Embiid says there wasn't any extra motivation.
"Not necessarily," said Embiid. "I'm used to it. It's not the first time. I think he's more of a motivation to go out and try to win the whole thing. I guess that's the only way I'm probably gonna get that respect. I think we got to pretty good chance. You play the best team in the West down 15 points or something like that and to come back and to be able to win the game, that gives us a lot of confidence."
When asked about the snub from the All-Star starters specifically, Embiid finally relented and discussed his shock when he found out.
"I was not surprised," he said. "I think it's well documented that I'm not well-liked and that's cool. I don't know if it's because I troll a lot or that I guess I'm an (expletive), but it's cool. I keep being me. I keep being an (expletive) and I keep trolling and if people don't like it, that's their problem. Like I said, it all goes back to winning."
At the end of the day, Embiid is going to be named an All-Star. It will just be as a reserve instead of his usual status as a starter. As long as he's in the game, that's all that matters.
"When you look at how many times he was an All-Star, they're not gonna say he was a starter this many times which having been a starter the last five years, it is kind of disrespectful," Embiid finished. "I don't think anybody has had a better year than me, but like I said, if you focus on the right things and everything is gonna go well for you."
The Sixers will look to extend the winning streak on Monday when they take on the Orlando Magic.
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Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire