Joel Embiid has made it clear his top priority is to put the Philadelphia 76ers in the best possible to succeed and he doesn't care about his stats as long as the 76ers are winning playoff games. Embiid, who won the NBA scoring title for this season, is hoping to lead the 76ers past the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference first round.
"I'm not going into this series looking to average 40," Embiid said. "They're going to get the ball out of my hands. So it's all about me really not getting frustrated and trusting my teammates over and over and just making the right plays.
Doesn't matter if it's 10, 20 points or whatever, so long as we're scoring, that's my mentality, and it starts with me. All the attention they're going to throw at me, I just have to make my teammates better."
Embiid to James Harden: Be yourself
Embiid and Harden have both stated multiple times that they are determined to lead the 76ers to an NBA championships.
"I tell him to be himself. He's been doing a great job of being the playmaker, but we need him to be aggressive and really score the ball, especially against Toronto," Embiid said. "With the way they guard me, we're going to need everybody.
We're going to need Tyrese [Maxey] to be aggressive with all the attention that's going to be on me and James. Tyrese, Tobias [Harris], all the other guys, they have to make plays. He just has to be himself, and not worry about people talking about pressure.
Whatever happened in the past, you look back at what he's accomplished and what he's done, he had to play against a dynasty. It would have been hard for anybody to beat those Golden State teams, so bad timing. But I'm sure it's going to be fine." Harden, who said he feels no extra pressure, praised the Raptors ahead of the first round series.
"They just fly around," Harden said. "They play extremely hard. They kind of junk up the game. They have a lot of guys that are tall, athletic, long and solid defenders. They use their length very well, and they just have each other's back.
They run around, they scramble, and they fly around defensively, so for us we have to execute, making sure we're crisp in our passes and if the shot's available, take it."