The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East

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The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East

Eastside

The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East

Eastside

Witnessing Greatness: East students detail attending monumental 76ers game

Philadelphia+76ers+center%2C+Joel+Embiid%2C+celebrates+with+his+teammates+on+Monday%2C+Jan.+22%2C+after+scoring+a+career+high+70+points+against+the+San+Antonio+Spurs.+Embiids+historic+milestone+surpassed+the+68-point+franchise+record+held+by+Naismith+Memorial+Basketball+Hall+of+Fame+center%2C+Wilt+Chamberlain.+
Courtesy of NBA.com
Philadelphia 76ers center, Joel Embiid, celebrates with his teammates on Monday, Jan. 22, after scoring a career high 70 points against the San Antonio Spurs. Embiid’s historic milestone surpassed the 68-point franchise record held by Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame center, Wilt Chamberlain.

For Philadelphia 76ers center, Joel “The Process” Embiid, a 30-point game is a regular occurrence. In fact, he has done this in 21 straight contests. However, Embiid, the front-runner to win his second consecutive National Basketball Association (NBA) league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, was initially not the main attraction for fans attending the 76ers versus San Antonio Spurs game on Monday, Jan. 22. 7-foot-4 French phenom and first overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Victor Wembanyama, was who people had come to see. The Frenchman is averaging 20.3 points per game, 10 rebounds per game and 3.2 blocks per game. His slender figure allows him to move like a guard, while protecting the rim and dominating in the paint at the same time. Even Embiid was taken aback by his massive frame, showing a shocked look as he entered the court to partake in pregame warmups.

For Cherry Hill High School East student, Shai Gilmore (‘24), he was also surprised by the first overall pick in the 2023 draft. “I was shocked by how long he was in person. He is big on my television screen, but seeing him fit through those tight gaps really gave me a different view on him.” But, Gilmore, along with friends Vinnie Dechristopher (‘24) and Ari Greenberg (‘24), quickly realized something else about this game was special.

Embiid is statistically the best first-quarter point scorer in the NBA, averaging 11.9 points in the first 12 minutes. Embiid opened the contest getting to the free throw line on a three-shot foul; Embiid is second in the league in free throw attempts, making 88.7% of those attempts. When the first frame came to a close, Embiid had already amounted a daunting 24 points, six rebounds and two assists. “I feel like every time [Embiid] touched the ball, he was going to score,” said Vinnie Dechristopher (‘24). Dechristopher bought his seats last minute along with his friends, so they could enjoy a night at the game.

Embiid recently had his 30-plus point and 10-plus rebound streak broken at 16 games, but that mark is always his aim. When halftime arrived, he had already surpassed that mark. At the halfway point, “The Process” had 34 points and 10 rebounds. After the game, 76ers Head Coach Nick Nurse said he realized at the beginning of the third quarter that this game could be really special. “[Embiid] had a bucket and an And-1 like in the first minute, and I was like wait a minute, he already has 37, 38, 39 — something like that.”

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The Spurs kept the game close enough for Embiid to check back into the game with around six minutes left in the final quarter, largely due to Wembanyama scoring an impressive 33 points. The league is certainly in good hands with young players such as Wembanyama. When Embiid reentered, he had already matched his personal career high in points at 59. Embiid attacked off of a sideline out of bounds and was fouled, sending him to the line for an opportunity at points 60 and 61. He calmly sank the pair of free throws, while the crowd erupted into a chorus of “M-V-P” chants. After two free throw line pull-up jump shots, Embiid found himself approaching the 76ers all-time scoring record of 68 points, held by Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame center, Wilt Chamberlain.

Embiid got to the line two more times, making three of his four attempts, bringing his total to 68 points — matching the franchise record. The crowd rose to their feet, realizing they were witnessing history. “I was already excited, because I was wondering if he could get to 70. When he got there, it was just pure excitement,” said Ari Greenberg (‘24). Embiid tipped a pass into the hands of 76ers star guard, Tyrese Maxey, who quickly dropped the ball off to Embiid, who went coast-to-coast for a left-handed layup. 70 points. Embiid checked out as the new single-game points record holder in 76ers history. All that could be heard was “M-V-P, M-V-P, M-V-P.”

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About the Contributor
Hayden Laufgraben, Eastside Sports Editor
Hayden is the Sports Print Editor for Eastside. Hayden enjoys watching sports with his family and hanging out with his friends. Hayden plays basketball at East and is looking forward to working hard with his peers.

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