Joel Embiid makes Gregg Popovich eat his words with 70-point explosion

"We're going to hammer his ass," Gregg Popovich said before Joel Embiid absolutely hammered the Spurs.

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Gregg Popovich poked the bear that is Joel Embiid on Monday. And he got mauled.

Embiid had a record-setting explosion of points against the San Antonio Spurs, dropping 70 with 18 rebounds and five assists. He was 24-of-41 from the field and 21-of-23 from the free throw line.

All that came after Popovich told reporters before the game, "We're going to hammer his ass!"

Popovich was asked about what he's looking forward to seeing in the first matchup between Victor Wembanyama and Embiid. His answer may have been just a fun way to describe what he wanted to see from Wemby: Don't be cowed by the veteran big man, challenge him physically and set the tone. But it also made the rookie's life that much tougher because Embiid clearly wanted to do some hammering of his own.

Joel Embiid made Gregg Popovich regret hammer comments

Wembanyama didn't even have a bad game. He led the Spurs with 33 points, grabbing seven rebounds with two assists and two blocks. However, he ran into foul trouble as Embiid successfully baited him when he could.

Meanwhile, Embiid put in a career performance that reminded everyone that there may be a new kid on the block, but The Process is still the reigning MVP.

Even before the game, Popovich was aware of what Embiid could do. He isn't stupid.

"I don't think it matters what we do. I can give you some bullshit if you want," Popovich responded when asked about how the Spurs could guard the 76ers star, via Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic.

Embiid's outburst powered the 76ers past the Spurs, 133-123. The center accounted for more than half of his team's points on the night with Tyrese Maxey supplying 18.

Philadelphia improved to 29-13, sitting 3.5 games behind the Celtics in the Atlantic. The Spurs dropped to 8-35, remaining in the basement of the Southwest.

Next. Joel Embiid's 70 came with "Process" coach on other sideline. Joel Embiid's 70 came with "Process" coach on other sideline. dark