Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid admitted he was disappointed not to win the NBA MVP award but he acknowledged that there's nothing he could do except go out and perform as best as he can. Just before Game 2 against the Atlanta Hawks, the NBA announced that Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic was the MVP for this season.
Embiid went out and put up a monstrous performance in Game 2 as he scored 40 points and had 13 rebounds in a 118-102 win over the Hawks. "It's disappointing because as a player, you work hard for moments like this," said Embiid, who in April said there was "no doubt" he should win the award.
"But then again, it's out of my control. There's nothing I can do about it. You just got to come out every year and just be ready and do my job. "But I'm focused on the playoffs, I'm focused on winning the championship.
Like I've been saying all season, we got a good chance. So I'm not worried about those awards and stuff. If and when I'm holding that [Larry O'Brien] Trophy, anything else won't matter."
Embiid delivered in Game 2
"No excuses," said Tobias Harris when asked about Embiid's mindset.
"He understands that. This is the playoffs. The way the NBA season was, I don't think anybody is 100%. So, when he steps on the floor, he has that attitude and that mentality that it's, 'win.' "As a whole group, we all have that tonight, but tonight, you just saw the dominance of him as a player."
Embiid was playing through a torn meniscus. "I'm trying to do the best I can, limited movement and all. I'm trying to be a better presence around the rim. Obviously not being 100% doesn't help, but tonight I just wanted to be big," Embiid said.
"It's tough because if I come up, they throw the lob. If I stay back, it goes with that floater." Before the game, Embiid told guard Shake Milton to get ready. "For some reason, I felt like he was going to be needed, so I told him before the game to get ready," Embiid said.
Milton scored 14 points and had three rebounds. "I love all these guys," Embiid said. "[Milton is] one of them and I believe in all of them because I want to win it all, and I'm going to need them to do so. So I'm extremely happy for him."