Because the Philadelphia 76ers stuttered to a hit-and-miss start, there was a way that their star center, Joel Embiid, needed to interrupt through.
Embiid delivered with the perfect game of his profession Sunday night, pouring in a career-high 59 points because the 76ers beat the Utah Jazz, 105-98.
It was the highest point total of the season within the N.B.A., surpassing the 51 points Darius Garland of the Cleveland Cavaliers had tallied just an hour or so before. Last season’s best games were 60-point efforts by Kyrie Irving of the Nets and Karl-Anthony Towns of the Timberwolves.
And Embiid’s game actually might have been a bit higher: He shot only one of 5 on 3-pointers. With a .334 profession 3-point percentage, he can have left a few points on the table.
His 19-for-28 shooting effort got here from throughout: six baskets down low, five farther out within the paint, two at the highest of the important thing and five from the wings, plus that lone 3-pointer.
And Embiid didn’t just rating. He totaled 11 rebounds and 7 blocks, and maybe most impressively got eight assists on an evening when his teammates combined to make only 21 total baskets.
Because the N.B.A. began counting blocks within the early Seventies, he’s the primary player to tally not less than 50 points, 10 rebounds, 5 blocks and 5 assists in a game, and he exceeded all those marks. He also did it in just 37 minutes.
The closest player to those numbers? Probably Embiid within the 2020-21 season, when he got here up a block short against Chicago with 50 points, 17 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks. Anthony Davis also barely missed when he was with the Pelicans in 2016-17 and had 50 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks against Denver. (He also had five steals.)
Embiid’s impressive stat line got here though the Jazz defense targeting him: Fouled continuously, he shot 24 free throws and made 20 of them.
“I missed too many free throws,” Embiid said with fun after the sport.
Just one other Sixer even attempted a free throw, Danuel House Jr., who made 1 of two.
Basketball Reference gave Embiid’s effort a Game Rating of 54.4, making it the eighth-most productive N.B.A. game going back to the Eighties. No. 1 is Michael Jordan’s 69-pointer for Chicago against Cleveland in 1989-90, which gets a game rating of 64.6. Kobe Bryant’s 81-point game for the Lakers against the Raptors in 2005-6 ranks second.
Embiid’s 59 points is the fifth-highest total in franchise history behind 68-, 65- and 62-point games from Wilt Chamberlain and a 60-pointer from Allen Iverson. (Chamberlain’s 100-point game, not to say five 70-pointers, got here with the Warriors once they were in Philadelphia and San Francisco.)
Embiid had a 50-point game in each of the last two seasons, and has scored not less than 40 on 28 occasions in his profession. But 59 was comfortably recent territory for him.
The sport was the second of back-to-back home games for the Sixers. Embiid scored 42 against the Atlanta Hawks the night before, but showed little signs of weariness.
“Joel Embiid is superb at basketball,” understated his teammate Tyrese Maxey, who had the team’s second-highest point total against the Jazz, a relatively paltry 18.
The sport was a needed win for the Sixers, who were expected to contend for a title, but are only 7-7 to begin the season. Embiid has missed 4 games with a sore knee and flu, while James Harden has missed the last five with a strained tendon in his foot.
Expectations were all-time low this season for his or her Sunday night victims, the Jazz. The team removed Donovan Mitchell, Bojan Bogdanovic and Rudy Gobert within the off-season as a part of what seemed to be a complete teardown. However the remaining unheralded players, including Lauri Markkanen and Mike Conley, had overachieved, posting a surprising 10-4 record.
Until they bumped into Embiid.