Embiid drops 70, breaks Wilt’s record

Fred Jeter | 2/1/2024, 6 p.m.
Erasing Wilt Chamberlain’s name from any record book is a rare feat, but Joel Embiid has done it.
Joel Embiid

Erasing Wilt Chamberlain’s name from any record book is a rare feat, but Joel Embiid has done it.

On Jan. 22, Embiid scored 70 points in a win over San Antonio, breaking the Philadelphia 76ers’ one-game record of 68 set by the iconic Chamberlain on Dec. 16, 1967.

It also was the most points by any NBA player since Kobe Bryant’s 81 for the Los Angeles Lakers 18 years ago, also on Jan. 22.

There is a fairly short list of players, led by Chamberlain, to total 70 or more points in a game.

Chamberlain, a native Philadelphian, did it six times, all with the Philadelphia Warriors and San Francisco Warriors. The franchise moved from Philly to the West Coast in 1962.

Wilt Chamberlain

Wilt Chamberlain

Chamberlain holds the single-game record of 100 points with the Philly Warriors on March 2, 1962.

In addition to Embiid, others to reach 70 in a game include Elgin Baylor, David Thompson, David Robinson, Bryant, Devin Booker, Donovan Mitchell, Damian Lillard and Luka Doncic.

In his 70-point outing, Embiid was 24 for 41 from the field, just one of two from outside the arc and 21 of 23 at the foul line. He also snagged 18 rebounds.

Embiid had 34 points at halftime and 59 through three quarters. He slipped past the late Chamberlain with No. 69 and 70 with 1:41 to go.

A native of Cameroon, the 7-foot, 280-pound Embiid led the NBA in scoring in 2022 and 2023 and is averaging a league-leading 36.1 this season.

He was league MVP last year and runner-up MVP the two previous seasons.

Embiid starred for the Kansas Jayhawks two seasons before becoming the third overall draft pick, by the Sixers, in 2014.

He was hampered by injuries early in his career.

The Jan. 22 game at the Wells Fargo Center also might be remembered for the first meeting between Embiid and emerging star Victor Wembanyama.

The 7-foot-4 Frenchman had 33 points for the Spurs, hitting 10 of 19 from the floor, two of five from beyond the arc and 11 of 12 at the charity stripe.

A leading candidate for Rookie of the Year, “Wemby” is averaging 25 points and nine rebounds while hitting 53% from the floor, 33% beyond the arc and 84% at the free throw line.