NBA

Embiid 'not even close' to full fitness despite season-high 43

By Sports Desk December 07, 2021

Joel Embiid is "not even close" to feeling fully fit despite producing his best performance of the season to inspire the Philadelphia 76ers past the Charlotte Hornets on Monday.

Last season's MVP runner-up posted a season-high 43 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists in his fifth game back following a three-week spell on the sidelines with COVID-19.

Embiid scored six of Philadelphia's eight points in the 127-124 overtime win as he recorded his 10th career 40-point, 15-rebound game for the 76ers – only Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain (30) has more in franchise history.

He took 20 shots in total from the field and missed just five of them, while also knocking down 12 of his 14 attempts from the foul line, but the 27-year-old feels he still has more to give once fully over his recent bout with coronavirus.

"I'm not even close," he said in his post-game interview when asked if he is now feeling 100 per cent. "I'm still feeling it. I get tired easily, feel pretty weak, but every single day I'm slowly getting better. 

"I've just got to keep pushing myself. My teammates, they push me. They want me to be making all the plays offensively and defensively, so as long as I got that trust I'm still going to keep pushing."

The returning Tobias Harris had 21 points and 11 rebounds as the 76ers moved to 13-11 for the season with their first back-to-back wins in a month.

Harris was particularly impressed by the performance of team-mate Embiid, who is averaging 23.9 point per game in 2020-21, down on the 28.5 across 51 games last time out.

"He's so dominant out there, especially when he is able to get his position on the floor," Harris said. "He's able to punish a team.

"They threw different guys at him, but he's so much bigger and stronger."

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