Joel Embiid after scoring 44 in the Philadelphia 76ers’ win

CLEVELAND – Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid says he doesn’t know what else he has to do to win this season’s MVP award after scoring 44 points in a 112-108 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night.

He made 17 free throws, added 17 rebounds and 5 blocks, made three 3-pointers and provided three assists in 38 minutes.

Embiid has 11 games with at least 40 points and 10 rebounds this season; only Russell Westbrook (12) and Moses Malone (12) have had more in a season since the 1976-77 merger. Both players won MVPs in those seasons.

“If it happens, great,” Embiid said of winning his first MVP. “Otherwise, I don’t know what to do. I’ll feel like they hate me. I feel like the standards for the men in Philly or for me are different from others.”

Embiid trails Denver Nuggets center and reigning MVP Nikola Jokic in ESPN’s latest MVP poll released last week. Jokic is also a fan of betting heavy on prizes, with odds of -300 through Caesars Sportsbook. Embiid has the second lowest odds of +270.

Sixers coach Doc Rivers says Embiid’s passing, defense and leadership are overlooked parts of his all-round game.

“I know he’s my guy, obviously,” Rivers said before Sunday’s game. “He just did a lot of things.”

Rivers credits Embiid for pulling the Sixers through the “Ben Simmons story.”

“He was our second best player at the time and was out, and at the All-Star break when we made the trade we were already a game against first place. in the East,” Rivers said. “There’s a lot to be said about that.”

James Harden, who had 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in his second double against Philadelphia, also had an ode to his co-star after the game.

“I got to witness his greatness every night,” Harden said. “Obviously, his offensive numbers tonight are self-explanatory. Defensively, he’s very active blocking shots, changing shots and tackles up is key.”

Embiid, 28, is averaging 30.2 points, 11.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game this season.

The Associated Press and ESPN’s Stats & Information contributed to this story. Joel Embiid after scoring 44 in the Philadelphia 76ers’ win

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