Justin Kubatko: Joel Embiid last night: ✅ 38 PTS ✅ 13 REB ✅ 5 AST ✅ 4 BLK ✅ 16-21 FG He’s scored at least 25 points on 50% shooting from the field in 10 straight games, breaking a tie with Wilt Chamberlain for the longest such streak in @sixers history. More: open.substack.com/pub/statitudes…
Wilt Chamberlain Rumors
Booker had 36 points Sunday, Durant had 37, including a game-winning jumper with 11 seconds left. They played their first three games together on the Suns’ just-concluded road trip and combined for 188 points. That is the most points for the first three games between teammates since the 1961-62 season when Wilt Chamberlain averaged 50 a game and any new face who showed up made the list. Yet had Doncic, who scored 34 points, made a bunny at the end, all that scoring wouldn’t have won it for Phoenix. “We have ultimate confidence in everybody, telling Chris to shoot it every time, telling Ish to shoot it, Josh to keep shooting,” Booker said. “We’re gonna keep working on it.”
Nearly 15 minutes into an All-Star interview session, the Denver Nuggets’ back-to-back MVP was starting to get a little punchy. “Do you care about winning the MVP?” a reporter asked. “Yes,” Nikola Jokic answered, with a hint of exasperation in his voice. Why? “Because the last seven times, I said no,” Jokic shot back. “Now I’m just going to change it up.” The truth is, Jokic seemingly couldn’t care less about the possibility of becoming just the fourth player in NBA history to win three MVPs in a row, joining Larry Bird (1984-1986), Wilt Chamberlain (1966-1968) and Bill Russell (1961-1963).
Justin Kubatko: Nikola Jokic last night: ✅ 40 PTS ✅ 17 REB ✅ 10 AST It’s the third time he’s recorded at least 40p/15r/10a in a game. The only other players in NBA history to produce at least three such games are Wilt Chamberlain (6) and Oscar Robertson (5). More: open.substack.com/pub/statitudes…
In his first season as coach and player, the Celtics lost to Philadelphia and Russell rival and friend Wilt Chamberlain. Russell took the brunt of the criticism. Fans booed Boston. “Bill Russell watches a dynasty crumble around him,” an announcer said. A headline read: “Wilt advises Russell to quit coach’s job.” Russell wasn’t leaving the game that way, not the man whose basketball career is defined by winning. Imagine a player-coach in today’s game. It’s laughable to think anyone could pull it off. “You didn’t have assistant coaches and didn’t have lots of trainers,” Sam Pollard, the director of the new Netflix documentary Bill Russell: Legend told USA TODAY Sports. “Today’s coaches, they’re surrounded with so many people to support them, and he had to do it all himself and also be a player. So that’s pretty tremendous and amazing.
Sunday was also Lillard’s fifth career 60-point game, breaking a tie for third most in NBA history; only Chamberlain (32) and Kobe Bryant (six) have more. Lillard has 15 games with 50 or more points, sixth most in NBA history. “I think any hooper enjoys those moments when you’re hot, you’re in attack mode, you’re feeling good,” Lillard said. “But it’s the stuff afterward that I struggle with, like when I walked off the court, was I supposed to be overly excited, or what?”