Sixers Sweep Celtics, Joel Embiid Reveals Secret to Being ‘Unguardable’

Sixers Sweep Celtics, Joel Embiid Reveals Secret to Being ‘Unguardable’
Joel Embiid


Sixers center Joel Embiid wants to shoot 90-percent from the free-throw line.

Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid missed four foul shots during Tuesday night’s 106-96 win. He was disappointed. It wasn’t good enough.

“I’m actually very disappointed,” Embiid told reporters. “They are called free throws for a reason. They’re free. And I love getting to the free-throw line. I don’t expend any energy being at the free-throw line. I actually rest more. I should just take my time and knock them down.”

The most dominating big man in the NBA expects every single trip to the charity stripe to end in a swish. Embiid is shooting 85.2% for the season and 80.3% from the free-throw line for his career. Again, not good enough. That’s not how a player becomes unguardable.

“And sometime in my career, I want to become a 90-percent free-throw shooter and just knock them down every single time I get to it,” Embiid said. “Because I go there so many times that’s what makes you unguardable.

“When you can get to the spot, either score or get fouled, sometimes teams want to get guys to the free-throw line but with me, it’s almost like, ‘Well, if you can’t guard him, you also don’t want to send him to the free-throw line.’”

Embiid scored 35 points in 33 minutes in his second start since returning from a scary knee injury. He called his defensive performance against the hated Boston Celtics “great” but overall the 7-footer still isn’t back to normal. His goal is to put himself back in the conversations for NBA MVP and NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

“Tonight, I felt better,” Embiid said. “But I still got a long way to go before I get back to where I was before I got hurt.”

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Sixers Sweep Season Series Versus Boston

The Sixers and Celtics embarked on what looked to be a retro Atlantic Division matchup in the first quarter. All of a sudden it was 2021.

Danny Green hit three triples in a span of two minutes while Embiid exerted his dominance in the paint. The Sixers had built up a 13-point lead by intermission and poured it on thicker in the second half. The 106-96 victory earned the Sixers a sweep of the three-game season series, with a 10-point average margin of victory. It also helped Philly erase the pain of last year’s first-round playoff exit to Boston.

“You want to win all these games and this season hasn’t been different,” Embiid said. “Obviously, we won those three games and that’s the mindset we gotta have against every team. But against Boston, you know, that’s our rival. They got a great team.

“They got a lot of great talent, great coaching, so those are the games you really want to win. Especially for me because I’ve been here for so long and that’s a rivalry that is very important for me and also for the City of Philadelphia.”

No Timetable for George Hill’s Return

George Hill traveled with the Sixers to Boston on Tuesday night, but he didn’t see any minutes. In fact, there is no timetable for a return as the veteran guard still hasn’t been cleared for contact.

Head coach Doc Rivers has been listening to team doctors and taking a wait-and-see approach with the team’s prized trade deadline acquisition. Hill had surgery on his right thumb back on Feb. 2 and hasn’t suited up since Jan. 24. It’s a “mallet finger” injury, something that Rivers endured during his playing days.

“That’s not anything you mess around with,” Rivers told reporters. “Just one whack, you may not get injured, but the pain is excruciating, because your nerves are so raw. So we are going to try to be as tentative as possible.”