JOEL EMBIID is about to make a lot of history. And a half-dozen first-round or play-in game matchups are set to be decided.
The final day of the National Basketball Association (NBA) season has no shortage of storylines.
A new scoring champion will be crowned and, barring something crazy, Embiid—who hails from Cameroon—will become the first international player to win that title. The Philadelphia big man would also be the first center to win the scoring crown since Shaquille O’Neal in 1999-2000.
Embiid scored 41 points Saturday in Philadelphia’s 133-120 win over Indiana. He’s now averaging 30.6 points for the season, which is just ahead of LeBron James’s 30.3-point-per-game clip for the Los Angeles Lakers and Kevin Durant’s 30.1 average for the Brooklyn Nets.
But neither James nor Durant will play enough games to qualify for the statistical title—in an 82-game season, 58 games played is the minimum.
That means the scoring race comes down to Embiid and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, the star from Greece—also bidding to be the first international NBA scoring champion—who would need a miracle finish to grab the crown.
If Embiid plays in the 76ers’ regular-season finale against Detroit and didn’t score—which is unlikely—Antetokoumpo would still need 47 points in the Bucks’ finale at Cleveland to take the lead. If Embiid doesn’t play at all Sunday, Antetokounmpo would need 77 points to tie Embiid for the crown. Antetokounmpo is averaging 29.9 points entering the season’s final day.
Image credits: AP