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NBA ICYMI: Joel Embiid, a Results-Driven Process

Everything you need to know about Wednesday in the NBA

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Los Angeles Lakers Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today

All the need-to-know info from Wednesday’s slate.


Forget the Process, Embiid Is the Result

Behold, the Eighth Wonder of the World: a 7-foot-tall man who holds within himself 250 pounds and prances like a deer through a field and finishes with the accuracy of a marksman, while making the Eurostep his own and sinking the 3 like it’s his usual MO.

This is Joel Embiid’s world, and there’s no one else like him. We’re all just living and admiring him within it.

Embiid finished with a career-high 46 points—including a dominating 19 in the fourth quarter alone—in the Sixers’ 115-109 win over the Lakers late Wednesday night. He compounded it with a ridiculous 15 rebounds, seven assists, and seven blocks in just 34 minutes. If you’re an NBA fan, read that again, and if you’re a Philly Process Truster, well, you might as well tattoo it on your face.

Ben Simmons finished with 18 points, nine rebounds, and 10 assists, and tied with Embiid for a game-high plus-19, and it was a footnote to the performance of a giant who displayed his skills on every inch of the Staples Center court, going at every player the Lakers helplessly threw at him.

It was a performance of a lifetime for a player who is only beginning his career—a peek at the ceiling that could only continue to grow as everyone else tries to stop him. The future of the league is in good hands; the future of the big man lives in Embiid. And somewhere out there, Sam Hinkie is smiling, admiring like the rest of us how, on Wednesday night, the ultimate unicorn tapped into his inner beast.

John Wall Channels Messi

In soccer, the self-pass is a well-known tool used to fool defenders before they can blink an eye or move a muscle. Here, Wall uses it as a way to also nutmeg Hassan Whiteside and elude him as he charges down the court for a score. Bellísimo.

Wall’s highlight reel wasn’t done. Later in the quarter, he eased his way through the Heat’s defense like scissors through papier-mâché, showcasing a combo of speed and dexterity that turns him into a blur and everyone else into statues.

Should you want some defense as a complementary side to your speed-heavy meal, Wall brought that too as he sealed the Wizards’ 102-93 win with 27 points, six assists, one steal, and two blocks, including this one:

Robert Covington Get$ Paid

Hours before the Sixers tipped off against the Lakers in L.A., news broke that Philly and Covington had agreed to a four-year, $62 million extension.

It’s quite the come-up for Covington, who went undrafted in 2013 and has taken the leap this season. As a main cog in the post-Process Sixers, he’s shooting 50 percent from 3 on 7.4 shots and averaging a career-high 16.8 points per game. For the Sixers, locking down Covington and his ever-rising ceiling at this price is a bargain.

Dwyane Wade: Floor General

Karl-Anthony Towns Gives Himself the Best Gift

During the broadcast of the Wolves’ game against the Spurs on Wednesday, the Minnesota announcing crew said that Andrew Wiggins had given Karl-Anthony Towns a generous birthday present that morning consisting of a high-five. That’s it.

It didn’t matter much on Wednesday night when the Wolves welcomed the Spurs and proceeded to beat them for the first time since April 2014 behind Towns’s 26 points and 16 rebounds—one of his better games so far this season (though it came primarily against subpar defender Pau Gasol). The Wolves are now stationed at third in the West and have looked better defensively in the past seven games. I’m going to venture a guess that that will make Tom Thibodeau happier than any of his players celebrating their name day.

Call 1-800-SAVE-A-RIM

Russell Westbrook had a low-rent Russell Westbrook game on Wednesday night. And by that, I mean that he shot the ball 13 times and finished with a 21-5-7 line and four steals in 32 minutes. But most of all, in the dominating 92-79 win over the Bulls, Russ rocked the Chesapeake Energy Arena rims like they had threatened to leave him for the Bay Area.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Somebody place these orange cylinders in an ice bath, please.

Gravity Is Not Working Against the King

Tim Hardaway Jr.: The New King of the Good Bad Shot

Ah, yes. It’s the classic J.R. Smith–patented “No, no, no. YES!” shot. One of the rare times when the process is forgiven in place of the result. In this case, Hardaway’s shot was the clincher in the Knicks’ comeback 106-101 win against the Jazz. If only the eye-popping $71 million contract the Knicks gave Hardaway could have the same happy conclusion.

Eric Bledsoe Is the Reason for the Streaking Season

Since acquiring Bledsoe from the Phoenix Suns for the low price of Greg Monroe and a few picks, the Bucks are now 4-0 in games he’s played. Against the Pistons on Wednesday, Bledsoe took over in the fourth quarter, scoring seven points in crunch-time minutes, including this go-ahead jumper to seal Milwaukee’s 99-95 victory.

Giannis’s ability to carry the Bucks by himself was not going to last the entire season, and so far, it’s looking like adding Bledsoe—who has 21 assists in four games—to the mix is only making the potential recipe for success that much stronger. Oh, and not to worry, Giannis is still doing Giannis things.