Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid are now tied in MVP odds

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Nuggets Nikola Jokic 76ers Joel Embiid are now tied in MVP odds

Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers superstar Joel Embiid are now tied in MVP odds, following Monday night’s 116-111 win over the Sixers. Embiid sat out with a sore right calf. Jokic recorded his 29th triple-double and 56th double-double of the season.

The four-time All-NBA member ended his performance with 25 points, 17 rebounds, 12 assists, and two blocks in 35 minutes played against the 76ers. Plus, the Nuggets center shot 8-of-11 (72.7%) from the floor and 9-of-11 (81.8%) at the foul line.

Per multiple NBA betting sites, Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid remain ahead of Giannis Antetokounmpo in MVP odds. The Joker is looking to become the first player since Hall of Famer and Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird (1984-86) to win the award three straight times.

Embiid was the runner-up the previous two seasons. Fans were hoping to see the top MVP candidates play against one another for a second time this season. “The guy’s a beast,” said Nikola Jokic of Embiid. “He’s so talented. He can affect [the game] in so many ways on the floor.”

Now, the only way for Embiid and Jokic to meet again this season is if the Nuggets and 76ers advance to the 2023 NBA Finals. It could happen. Sportsbooks show Denver with fourth-shortest odds to win the championship, whereas oddsmakers are giving Philadelphia sixth-best odds.

Nikola Jokic ties Joel Embiid in MVP odds, could become the first NBA player since Larry Bird (1984-86) to win a third straight award

In the 76ers’ 126-119 win versus Denver on Jan. 28, the first matchup of the season series, Embiid tallied 47 points, 18 boards, five assists, three steals, and two blocks in 38 minutes of action. The six-time All-Star shot 18-of-31 (58.1%) from the field and drained four 3-pointers.

Meanwhile, Nikola Jokic amassed 24 points, eight rebounds, nine dimes, and two blocks in 39 minutes. Also, the Nuggets center shot 8-of-12 (66.7%) from the floor and knocked down all six free throws. It was Embiid’s ninth 40-point game of the season. Offensively, it was one of Embiid’s best games of the season as well.

If Embiid wants to win his first MVP award, the center will have to participate in Philadelphia’s remaining seven games. Otherwise, the award will be Joker’s to lose. Sixers coach Doc Rivers has other plans in mind. Perhaps winning a championship should take precedence over individual awards.

“Everybody wants to see these two guys play against each other,” said Rivers, “but we’re just going to take it slow and be smart. We want to get him and the whole team healthy for the playoffs.” There’s a slim chance that if Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic stay healthy, the Nuggets and 76ers will meet in the 2023 NBA Finals.

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