Sixers star Joel Embiid was an in-and-out, full-court buzzer-beater away from forcing overtime in a 116-113 loss to the Suns on Wednesday night.
‘When I threw it, it looked good,” Embiid said afterward.
The 7-foot center came so close to launching a near-perfect bank shot — before the ball circled around the rim, dipped into the hoop and popped out.
After the Sixers trailed by eight points with under two minutes to go, Embiid then flipped the switch, scoring nine consecutive points and cutting the Suns’ lead to three.
“I don’t know how I would have reacted. That was crazy,” Suns forward Mikal Bridges said.
An intentional foul brought Chris Paul, a 92.6-percent free-throw shooter, to the line. He made the first and missed the second.
With 0.8 seconds remaining, Embiid caught the clean rebound, and in one swift motion used his entire body to launch the ball with his right arm.
As the rock went halfway down, Philadelphia’s bench stood up to celebrate a miracle. When the ball bounced out of the hoop, Embiid collapsed to the floor.
Despite suffering a loss on his home court, Embiid was sensational. He finished the night with 38 points, 17 rebounds and four assists — without his point guard in Ben Simmons and forward Tobias Harris.
Simmons, who’s been battling a non-COVID illness, missed his second straight game on Wednesday night, while Harris missed his third straight due to right knee soreness.
The Sixers were also without guard Seth Curry, who was out with a left hip flexor.
While Embiid continues to make an MVP case for himself, the Sixers remain at the top of the Eastern Conference at 39-19.