Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Durant, Simmons, Trent

Joel Embiid is very good at basketball” is how teammate Tyrese Maxey summed up the unprecedented stat line the Sixers center posted Sunday night, writes Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice. In addition to scoring a career-high 59 points, Embiid narrowly missed a quadruple-double with 11 rebounds, eight assists and seven blocks in a win over Utah.

“I’ve seen a guy score a lot of points. I haven’t seen a guy score a lot of points, rebound, and then the blocked shots. That was impressive. He was getting everything,” coach Doc Rivers said. “No, is the answer. I have never seen a more dominating performance when you combine defense and offense.”

Embiid has been forced to take on a greater share of the scoring with James Harden out for a month with a strained tendon in his left foot. He’s also the centerpiece of a defense that has improved to fifth in the league. Most importantly, according to Neubeck, he provides hope every night for a team that has often seemed in danger of fracturing amid its 7-7 start.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Sixers reached out to the Nets about Kevin Durant after his trade demand this summer and they’re likely to try again before the deadline, an Eastern Conference executive tells Sean Deveney of Heavy. However, the results of the last deal between the teams could make Brooklyn reluctant to consider Philadelphia as a trading partner. “There is no doubt the Sixers have asked on Durant, they did in the summer, and will keep asking about him,” the executive said. “But the Nets are going to be a little put off by them already because of the Ben Simmons thing because they feel like they were set up to give away James Harden all along. So the Sixers burned them once, do the Nets want to go back and say, OK, sure, we’ll do a KD deal, too.” The executive adds that Maxey would likely have to be included in the offer to get Brooklyn to consider it.
  • Simmons didn’t play Sunday night because of knee soreness, tweets Nick Friedell of ESPN. It hasn’t been determined if he will need another MRI, but Simmons sounded confident that it’s not a long-term issue, Friedell adds.
  • Gary Trent Jr. will miss tonight’s game with a sore right hip, leaving the Raptors without three starters, tweets Josh Lewenburg of TSN Sports. Pascal Siakam is sidelined with an adductor strain, and Fred VanVleet is recovering from a non-COVID illness.
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