Gregg Popovich tried to warn us.

“I don’t think it matters what we do,” the San Antonio Spurs head coach said pregame when asked how they would try to contain Joel Embiid, according to The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov. “I can give you some bullshit if you want.”

Sure enough, Embiid erupted for 70 points. He added 18 rebounds and five assists, as he and the Philadelphia 76ers proved too much for rookie prodigy Victor Wembanyama and the Spurs in a 133-123 win Monday. Embiid’s scoring outburst surpassed the NBA season-high 64 points that Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo scored against the Indiana Pacers on Dec. 13.


Here are several other numbers that help put Embiid’s otherworldly performance in perspective.

– The reigning MVP is a respectable 3-point shooter, having entered Monday’s game with a 36% clip on the season. Yet he didn’t have to rely on the long ball at all Monday, burying just one trey.

– Only nine players in NBA history have ever eclipsed the 70-point mark. There have been 14 total occurrences, however, as Wilt Chamberlain pulled it off six times.

18 – Something about Jan. 22 seems to evoke monster scoring performances. Embiid’s highlight night happens to be on the 18th anniversary of Kobe Bryant dropping 81 on the Toronto Raptors, which remains the second-highest total behind Chamberlain’s illustrious 100-point game.

41 – Embiid was averaging 21.8 field-goal attempts entering Monday but nearly doubled that against the Spurs, making 24 of them. The rest of the 76ers combined for 56 shots, converting … 24 of them.

59 – Embiid’s previous career high, which he set against the Utah Jazz on Nov. 13, 2022, pales in comparison to his new personal best. Embiid had 59 points by the end of the third quarter Monday.

65/15/5 – Only one other player has surpassed this points-rebounds-assists stat line in NBA history: Michael Jordan. The Chicago Bulls legend posted 69/18/6 against the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 28, 1990, though His Airness needed overtime to do it.

68 – Chamberlain held the 76ers’ single-game record before Embiid’s monster night. Chamberlain set his mark in 1967 in a win over the Chicago Bulls.

1978 – The NBA hasn’t seen two players score 60 or more on the same day in nearly 50 years. Embiid was joined Monday by Karl-Anthony Towns, who put on a similar scoring clinic against the Charlotte Hornets. David Thompson and George Gervin had 73 and 63, respectively, on April 9, 1978.