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Joel Embiid on if he loses the MVP battle: ‘I’ll feel like they hate me’

Joel Embiid Philadelphia 76ers
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia 76ers superstar Joel Embiid is firmly in the mix to win this season’s MVP award, but he feels that the standards he’s held to are unfair.

“If it happens, great,” Embiid said of potentially winning the award. “If it doesn’t, I don’t know what I have to do. I’ll feel like they hate me. I feel like the standard for guys in Philly or for me is different than everyone else.”

In a 112-108 road victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Embiid put up outstanding numbers across the board.

Playing 38 minutes, Embiid contributed 44 points, 17 rebounds, three assists and connected on a trio of 3-pointers. In addition, he blocked five shots and connected on 17 free throws during the contest.

Embiid has registered at least 40 points and 10 rebounds in 11 games this season, which is one of the most impressive aspects of his stellar campaign. Only two players, Moses Malone and Russell Westbrook, have had more such games in a single season since the 1976-77 merger.

One of Embiid’s newer teammates is James Harden, who was acquired by the Sixers in February. Harden won the MVP award in 2018, and he’d surely be happy to see his teammate win it this year.

Embiid’s outstanding season thus far helps explain why the 76ers are among the top teams in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers are 48-30 with four games left in the regular season.

Exactly how deep of a playoff run the 76ers will make is a question still to be answered. However, Embiid will certainly do everything in his power to get the team to the NBA Finals.

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