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Getty Sixers All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons think they have all the pieces in place for a championship.

It would be easy to look at the box scores from the first two games and think that defense was optional in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Philadelphia 76ers are averaging 121 points per game, while the Atlanta Hawks are at 115.

Look deeper. Look inside the paint.

All-Star center Joel Embiid has been causing Clint Capela and Danilo Gallinari fits on a nightly basis. The Sixers big man has even started trash-talking one of them in French. Embiid has also been instrumental in stopping Trae Young with what he called a “cat and mouse” game. The 7-footer will fake like he’s coming up to the perimeter, then stay back to protect against the lob pass. He also has to keep his eyes on Young to make sure he doesn’t sneak a floater in. Or find an open teammate on the wing.

“Faking and going back,” Embiid said. “Just trying to keep them guessing.”

Joel Embiid contains Trae Young and helps force the turnover

— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) June 9, 2021

Sixers head coach Doc Rivers marvels at the way Embiid defends the pick-and-roll. He thinks what the runner-up for MVP brings on that end is “pretty rare” and put in the same conversation with Patrick Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwon, in terms of how he uses his quick feet and lengthy frame.

“He’s the anchor point on defense because he has the ability to protect the rim,” Rivers said. “He’s so versatile, it’s rare with a guy his size, that you can bring him up in pick-and-rolls, that you can actually switch on a couple occasions and you can trap and you can be in the drop [coverage]. Joel can do all those things and he does them well. He has great feet, he really does — and that makes us pretty good defensively.”

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Rivers Calls Nikola Jokic ‘Worthy Winner’

It was surely disappointing to see Embiid miss out on NBA MVP honors the other day. Then again, it was a foregone conclusion that Nikola Jokic was going to win it. You can’t miss 21 games — nearly a quarter of the season — and take home the league’s top hardware. Rivers added his two cents to the MVP debate after Thursday’s shootaround.

The MVP's team looks like it's going to get swept by the Suns. Embiid>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Jokic

— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) June 10, 2021

“I was disappointed that Joel didn’t win MVP, but I thought when you think of Joker and what he’s done all year, he’s played in the amount of games that he played in, he was a worthy winner,” Rivers said. “A lot of times you have to have an MVP season the year before you become the MVP and the same thing with any of those awards.”

Embiid averaged 28.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, 2.8 assists for 51 games in the regular season, compared to 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, 0.7 blocks, 8.3 assists for Jokic in 72 games.

Rudy Gobert Steals Embiid’s ‘Thrust the Process’

Meanwhile, Ben Simmons lost the Defensive Player of the Year award to Rudy Gobert in another controversial end-of-year vote. The Sixers point guard finished second to the Utah Jazz big man.

Those two men already had a rivalry brewing, then Gobert took it to a new level when he mimicked Embiid’s “Thrust the Process” move in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals. No doubt both Simmons and Embiid were watching at home while laughing and plotting revenge.

Just when you thought you couldn’t possibly hate R*dy G*bert more, it appears as though he pulled Joel Embiid’s thrust move. The effing nerve.

— Josh Reynolds (@JoshReynolds24) June 11, 2021

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Tags: basketball nba breaking news 5 fast facts crime politics shopping conference semifinals pic twitter com nikola jokic that you can rudy gobert assists joel embiid and you can ben simmons

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KJ Apa and Pregnant Clara Berry Make Rare Outing Together

Its a national tragedy: Young victims of Alabama highway crash were traveling home from beach trip when tragedy struck Royal Caribbean: First US trial cruise testing Covid safety protocols sets sail © GIO/the last Jedi master / BACKGRID

Parents-to-be KJ Apa and model Clara Berry enjoyed a night out on Saturday in West Hollywood, California.

The 23-year-old Riverdale star and the 27-year-old model attended record executive Carter Gregory's birthday party at 40 Love in West Hollywood. The private couple was in good spirits, Apa placing his hand on Berry's burgeoning baby bump. The two are expecting their first child together, they announced in May.

Apa sported bright green pants for the occasion and yellow sneakers, while Berry looked chic in a gray button-up dress and platform sandals.

© GIO/the last Jedi master / BACKGRID GIO/the last Jedi master / BACKGRID

Romance rumors between the two first sparked in February 2020, after Apa Instagrammed a photo of himself snuggling with Berry. He captioned the PDA pic, "Coup de foudre ☺️," which is French for "love at first sight." The New Zealand actor and the French model then took their relationship public last August when Apa posted nude photos of her that he had snapped.


KJ Apa and Camila Mendes Love to Goof Off During 'Riverdale' Romance Scenes | Sweetwater Secrets

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