SIXERS JOJO’S SUCKY USA START: 5 PTS, 6 REBS, 3 TOS, FOUL-OUT!

By Skip Charles in Vegas

Sixers star Joel Embiid screwed the pooch in Team USA’s debut 88-762 win over Canada.

The starters — Embiid, Steph Curry, LeBron James, Jrue Holiday and Devin Booker — didn’t get off to a strong start.

Embiid bricked a three long, missed a short fadeaway and was also stripped by Dallas Mavericks’ big man Dwight Powell.

It was a much better second stint for Embiid and the starting unit. Embiid was able to bully Toronto Raptor Kelly Olynyk in the post. Olynyk attempted to flop as the two jostled for position, leaving Embiid wide open for an easy layup. More impressively, Embiid made two very nice passing plays.

After a sensational LeBron dunk, Curry found Embiid with a bounce pass up the floor. Embiid drew the defense with a couple dribbles and threw a nice no-look pass to Devin Booker for a three.

Despite it being international competition and being surrounded by superstars, Embiid still faced double teams on his post touches. He made a great read to find a cutting Booker who found an open Curry in the corner, who missed. Embiid ended his first half by plowing over Powell and picking up his second foul.

Team USA really took the game over in the second quarter, taking a 41-33 lead into the half. Anthony Edwards and Jayson Tatum paced the Americans with eight points apiece.

Embiid picked up his third foul early in the third quarter on an RJ Barrett drive. The call might’ve been a little ticky tack. Embiid also had a rough turnover on a post up, missing an open Holiday for three after getting doubled. He made up for it by stepping into his patented midrange jumper off a nice feed from Booker.

Unfortunately, Embiid was called for an unsportsmanlike foul a couple possessions later when Powell went to crash the glass and Embiid caught him with an elbow to the face. It didn’t appear intentional from Embiid, but he did catch Powell up high. That’s going to get called every time.

Not long after, Embiid picked up his fifth foul attempting to block an RJ Barrett shot. It looked clean, but they only showed one terrible replay on the broadcast. So, Embiid fouled out after just 12 minutes.

It wasn’t the night Embiid was hoping for as he finished with five points, six rebounds, two assists and three turnovers. He’ll need to shake off the rust from a long layoff and adjust to the way the FIBA game is called.

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