No Ben Simmons, no problem.
Just days after proclaiming he was the 'best player in the world' Joel Embiid looked the part as he poured in a career-high 49 points to lead the Philadelphia 76ers past the Atlanta Hawks 129-112.
With the win, the 76ers improve their dominant home record to 27-2, advancing to 36-22 on the season.
Embiid added 14 rebounds, three assists, three steals and one block on the night, shooting an efficient 17-of-24 from the field and 1-of-3 from beyond the arc.
Philly looked in control in the first half, racing out to a 41-24 lead after the first quarter, leading by as many as 21 points in the opening 24 minutes before the Hawks hit back.
Coming out of the half, the Hawks outscored the 76ers 23-9 and kept their foot on the gas, with Trae Young's triple at the end of the quarter giving them a 92-91 lead.
Trae caps off a 40-22 3rd quarter for ATL.@ATLHawks 96@sixers 96- NBA (@NBA) February 25, 2020
📺: NBA TV pic.twitter.com/9ifZHTgR2h
Embiid opened the fourth quarter with an and-1 and quickly got the 76ers back on track, dominating inside, scoring 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting in the final frame to blow the game open.
His aggressive play inside saw him shoot 15 free throws, knocking down 14, with the Hawks unable to find an answer for the All-Star big man.
"He was dominant as an interior presence, scoring that volume of points at that efficient of a rate is impressive," head coach Brett Brown said post-game.
"I think the thing that doesn't shot up on a stat sheet, that he did as well as anything, was he handled the double teams, whether he passed out of it because there was a crowd, whether he went quick because the double teams were coming."
Last @sixers player with 49 points and 14 rebounds in a game before @JoelEmbiid tonight:- Sixers Stats (@SixersStats) February 25, 2020
Moses Malone on 11/14/84
The only other 76ers to do so are Wilt Chamberlain and Dolph Schayes.
With "MVP" chants roaring around the arena, Embiid had the Philly faithful on their feet and when he buried a 3-pointer with 32.2 seconds left to bring his scoring total to 49, he cupped his hand to his ear to soak it all in.
His previous career-high was 46 points against the Los Angeles Lakers on November 15, 2017.
"I just came in with the mindset of just being aggressive and just trying to get fouled, just being aggressive and play within the concept of the game, especially knowing that they're going to double team me the whole game...double, triple.
"Just being patient, either go quick or just finding my teammates."
🗣 Give that man a new career-high.#PhilaUnite pic.twitter.com/havYzcigu7- Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) February 25, 2020
After allowing 40 points in the third quarter, the 76ers clamped down on defence in the final frame, holding the Hawks to just 20 points.
"It's a good feature, obviously we would like to have it withstand throughout the whole game," Tobias Harris said of their defensive surge in the fourth.
"But it's something we can kind of get to pretty quick and pretty sharp, so it's something that we rely on, I think as we progress to the end of the season and get ready for the playoffs, that's where we're really going to have to hold each other accountable."
Harris finished with 25 points on the night, while Josh Richardson added 13 points and six rebounds and Furkan Korkmaz had 15 points off the bench.
In his return to the starting lineup, Al Horford had seven points, eight rebounds and five assists.
For the Hawks, Trae Young led the charge with 28 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, while John Collins added 22 points and nine rebounds and rookie De'Andre Hunter 22 points and seven rebounds.