Joel Embiid scores 51 points and extends historic streak as Philadelphia 76ers beat Minnesota Timberwolves

Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers drives to the basket during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on December 20, 2023 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Embiid drives to the basket in another impressive showing.David Dow/NBAE/Getty ImagesCNN — 

Reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid posted 51 points and 12 rebounds in a dominant performance as the Philadelphia 76ers took down the Minnesota Timberwolves, 127-113.

With this monster stat line, Embiid extended his streak of having at least 30 points and 10 rebounds to 12 games, the most since Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did it in 16 straight games in the 1971/72 season, per the NBA.

“We’re winning and that’s all that matters,” Embiid said. “Stats are great and it’s great to put up stats. But if it comes with a loss, then that’s a different story. If it comes with a win, it means a lot.”

Fortunately for Embiid, he was able to enjoy his achievement alongside a hard-earned victory on Wednesday.

The Timberwolves entered Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia with the best record in the NBA and with the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. Led by the high-scoring duo of former No. 1 overall picks Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards and perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate Rudy Gobert, the ‘Wolves are considered one of this season’s surprise packages.

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Entering the fourth quarter with a thin three-point lead, the Sixers outscored Minnesota by 11 points in the final period to finish strong and take home an important victory.

Embiid also had three assists, two steals and a block to go with his seventh career 50-point game. His Sixers co-star Tyrese Maxey contributed in a big way, racking up 35 points and five assists.

“I felt like I was playing within the offense and not forcing anything,” said Embiid. “I took what was being given to me. And I’ve been trying to figure out when to be aggressive and when to let my teammates do their thing.”

Philadelphia 76ers' Tobias Harris (12) goes up for a shot against Minnesota Timberwolves' Rudy Gobert (27) and Anthony Edwards (5) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023, in Philadelphia.

Sixers forward Tobias Harris goes up for a shot against Gobert.Matt Slocum/AP

Edwards, Towns and Jaden McDaniels had 27, 23 and 21 points respectively, but it was not enough to get the Timberwolves over the line. The team was also hampered by Gobert only being able to play 24 minutes, as Philadelphia worked to get the French center into foul trouble early on.

After the game, Minnesota head coach Chris Finch rued letting the 76ers run away with the game in the fourth.

“I thought we would find a run or a rhythm,” he said told reporters. “Thirty-seven points (for Philadelphia) in the fourth quarter is way too much – we needed it to be under 30 for sure.”

Despite the loss, Minnesota still sits atop the West with a 20-6 record. The top seed heads back home to take on the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday night in the second leg of a back-to-back.

Meanwhile, the 76ers are the East’s third seed and are now 19-8 on the season. Next up for Philly is a visit from the Toronto Raptors on Friday.

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