Denver Crowd Shows No Mercy to Reigning MVP Joel Embiid After Dodging Nikola Jokic Matchup

Published 01/27/2024, 8:14 PM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

The ongoing clash between the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers has been a rollercoaster of events. Initially, the much-anticipated showdown between MVPs was in doubt, as Nikola Jokic suffered an eye injury. However, he received clearance to play. On the other side, Joel Embiid‘s participation became uncertain due to a knee tweak, but reports suggested he would take the court. This set the stage for a potential redemption game for Jokic after Philly’s victory in their earlier matchup.

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As the game approached, Embiid was unexpectedly withdrawn from the contest due to the constant back-and-forth developments. This led to widespread fan frustration. Furthermore, when Embiid was seen among his teammates before the game commenced, he was met with resounding boos from the disappointed crowd.

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The Sixers training staff ruled out Embiid from the game during the last-minute pre-game warmup, citing concerns about his knee soreness. Even before the team hit the court, fans were expressing disappointment and frustration with the absence of the MVP candidate.

Both Jokic and Embiid have emerged as front-runners for the MVP trophy this season, marking the second consecutive year of their contention. Adding to the disappointment, Embiid holds the title of the reigning MVP, while Jokic is the reigning Finals MVP. The combination of factors has left fans significantly disheartened.

Embiid’s absence from 11 games this season poses a challenge. According to new CBA rules, he can only miss 6 more games this season if he intends to remain eligible for the MVP race.

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Where do numbers side on Jokic vs Joel Embiid?

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The first clash between Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid occurred during the 2016-17 season, with the 76ers emerging victorious in a closely contested game. Since then, these two epitomes of modern-day NBA centers have faced off on the court seven more times, with the Philadelphia 76ers securing the win in five of those matchups.

However, Embiid has shown a tendency to avoid road games against Denver in recent years, marking an advantage. The last time Joel Embiid played in the Nuggets’ arena dates back to 2019 when Jokic sealed the victory with a game-winning shot.

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Examining the statistics, Embiid, even though playing in his comfort zone,  has consistently outperformed Jokic. Over eight games, Embiid boasts averages of 27.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 2 blocks against Jokic. In contrast, Jokic posts figures of 22.3 points, 10.1 rebounds, 6.9 assists, with 1.2 blocks per game.

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Watch This Story – “Its Scary, but…”: Self-Confident Joel Embiid Gives Honest Take On Crunch-Time Brilliance vs OKC

Despite their battles, the teams they represent belong to different conferences, due to which their faceoff in a playoff series is yet to happen.

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Written by:

Saahil Dhillan

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“Places you go in life – it opens your eyes up and you kind of understand who you are.” - This is my philosophy in life. I want to go to innumerable places and get inspired by the people and experiences I come across, just like Dwayne Wade.
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Edited by:

Vishav

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