Pindowns: Embiid’s ascension a blast to watch

Joel Embiid of the 76ers continues to impose his will and his game on opponents.

Random pindowns while capping a long, enjoyable NBA day by watching the Washington Wizards end the Philadelphia 76ers’ seven-game winning streak with a 109-94 win Sunday night at Capital One Arena…

Trusting the process very much worth it

Though the 76ers came out on the short end of the verdict in D.C. on Sunday night, they are flat out a blast to watch.

Joel Embiid possesses one of the highest ceilings of all players in the league. At 23 years old, his size (7-foot, 250 pounds), shooting touch (he’s been working on extending his range past the 3-point line, from where he made 2 of 6 on Sunday night) and athleticism are the aspects that are the most obvious of his vast array of skills.

However, his toolbox of talents also includes having great hands and feet, which allow him to catch less-than-solid entry passes and to spin and dropstep in both directions or to face up, use a rip-move crossover and drive to the hole, as evidenced by the following clip:

 

Embiid seems to be a guy who wants to soak up everything he can about the experience of being part of the greatest basketball players in the world. For example, he was a participant on all three nights over All-Star Weekend — the Rising Stars game Friday night, the Skills Challenge on Saturday night and the actual game Sunday night.

 

 

Of course, there’s his unique demeanor and personality. For example:

 

 

Throw in his take-no-guff attitude (remember him and Russell Westbrook going at it, including in the All-Star Game?), his knowledge and appreciation of the history of the game (remember him asking veteran big man Al Horford about Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar while sitting on the bench at the All-Star Game?) and his much-publicized social-media game and this is one of the guys on whose shoulders the league can stand for the next decade plus.

Even Kevin Durant, regarded by most as the second-best player on the planet, envisions Embiid as the The Man in the league in the near future.

 

 

A spirited contest

As for the game itself, Washington built a 23-point lead, only to see Philadelphia chop it down to within eight twice midway through the fourth quarter, before holding on for the much-needed win.

Otto Porter led the Wizards with 24 points, while All-Star Bradley Beal had 23. Center Marcin Gortat, tasked with attempting to check Embiid all night, added 13 points and matched Embiid for game-high honors by hauling down 10 boards.

“They can come back from 20-point deficits like it’s nothing,” Beal said of the 76ers. “And they almost got us with one. We did a good job of staying poised and closing it out in the end. But that’s a hungry team that’s going to be trouble.”

Kelly Oubre posted 16 of his 19 points in the first half to help fourth-place Washington (25-25) move a half-game ahead of the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference standings.

 

 

Embiid had a game-high 25 points and 10 rebounds for Philadelphia (32-26), which dropped a half-game behind Milwaukee (33-26) into seventh place in the East with the loss. Embiid shot 9-of-20 from the field and adding four assists, two steals and a block in 32 minutes in playing the tail end of a back-to-back. He also had five turnovers.

 

 

Rookie point guard Ben Simmons added 16 points, eight boards and eight dimes for the 76ers, who have now lost eight straight games in Washington and ended with a 2-2 split in the season series with the Wizards.

Wizardy continues

Meanwhile, Washington keeps right on rolling. Even with All-Star point guard John Wall sidelined as he recovers from knee surgery, the Wizards are now only a half-game back of third-place Cleveland (35-24) in the East.

With Wall watching in street clothes from the bench, the Wizards improved to 9-3 as he his on the mend, a fact not lost on Simmons.

 

“I mean, he’s a huge part of the team,” Simmons said of Wall. “But at the same time, they have an All-Star in Bradley Beal, so you can’t really take anything away from them. They are a good team, they play together. They are not selfish and they move the ball.”

Cold-blooded Mamba

A big part of what made Kobe Bryant of the Lakers special was his Jordan-esque killer instinct.

Having an NBA player, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant as a father, playing against bigger, stronger and faster, not to mention, older, guys as a youngster and, of course, watching Jordan take on and take down all comers unquestionably hardened his edge.

Think not?

Check out this short-but-great GIF:

Bottom feeding

In the race to accumulate the most Ping-Pong balls for the draft lottery, there are sis, count ’em, six, teams in the NBA with exactly 18 wins, while another has 19 and yet another has 20.

Phoenix, Dallas, Atlanta, Sacramento, Orlando and Memphis all have 18 victories, Brooklyn 19 and Chicago 20.

Incredibly, those eight teams have combined to lose a staggering 44 consecutive games entering into play Monday night.

The next team in line, the New York Knicks, have 24 wins, but have won just once in their last 10 games. With star big man Kristaps Porzingis sidelined for the season because of a torn ACL, it figures to only get worse in The Big Apple.

Cleveland, by the way, owns Brooklyn’s first-round draft selection, acquired as part of the trade that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston on Aug. 22.

A Hawkeye with a huge heart

And finally… a great basketball story is a great basketball story, something we here at Amico Hoops always have and will continue to appreciate.

If you’ve got the Monday-morning blues, we present the case of Jordan Bohannon.

Who is Jordan Bohannon? He’s a young man with a wonderful perspective and a caring, selfless soul… and, oh yeah, he also plays basketball for the University of Iowa.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though.

First, there’s Chris Street.

Street made 34 consecutive free throws for the Hawkeyes as a junior in the 1992-93 season, the final two coming in a 65-56 loss at Duke on Jan. 16, 1993. Three days later, he was killed in a car accident.

Fast-forward a quarter-decade. Bohannon, a sophomore, stood at the free-throw line Sunday with 2:15 to go against visiting Northwestern with a chance to pass Street, a fellow Iowa-born Hawkeye, in the record books, having made 34 straight from the charity stripe.

At that point, Bohannon looked to section KK at Carver-Hawkeye Arena and made eye contact with his older brother, Zach, to confirm what they had discussed.

Even while holding only an eight-point lead in the regular-season finale against the Wildcats, Bohannon missed his free-throw attempt… intentionally. He left the shot short, off the front rim, and then pointed to the sky.

In doing so, he made sure his name would be alongside — not in place of — Street in the Iowa basketball history book.

 

“It’s been in my mind for a while,” Bohannon told reporters afterward. “I knew I wanted to leave it short a little bit. I didn’t want to make it too obvious.”

 

Street’s parents, Mike and Patty Street, are still season-ticket holders at Iowa. After the game, they shared a warm embrace with Bohannon on the court at Carver-Hawkeye.

Patty Street was moved to tears by Bohannon’s gesture.

“What a good kid. He’s so kind,” she said. “That was so special that he thought of Christopher and that record.”

Mike Street, who had told anyone who asked leading up to this point that he wanted Bohannon, a hard-nosed, blue-collar player just like his son, to surpass Chris’ mark. However, he understood and will always cherish the tribute.

“Christopher would want him to do to the best he could do and stay after it,” Mike said. “But that was Jordan’s decision, and if that’s what he wanted to do, then we appreciate it. We certainly in the future want him to get another shot at it.

“I told him, ‘Next time, you need to go right on by.’”

For much more detail on this awesome, wonderful story, please do check out this one written by Chad Leistikow, published on northjersey.com. It’s worth your click and your time, trust me, basketball fans.

Until next time…