Joel Embiid
Photo: Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers explained why Joel Embiid did not win the MVP award over Nikola Jokic. The Sixers’ superstar averaged 28.5 points and 10.6 rebounds leading his team to the top of the East.

That type of play made one of three finalists for the 2021 MVP Award. On Tuesday, the NBA announced that Nikola Jokic was named the 2021 MVP Award winner.

(via Sixerswire):

“Listen, there’s a lot of great, great candidates,” said Doc Rivers prior to game vs. Atlanta. “Between Jokic and Joel, I think it was a two-man race, I guess you can say Steph (Curry) was thrown in there at the end the way he made a charge and just so many great players in our league. I do think probably the deciding factor was games played.”

“I think that that helped, for sure, but even if they both played a lot of games, it still would have been a very difficult choice,” Rivers added. “I was obviously hoping for our guy, but you can’t take anything away from Jokic,” Rivers continued.

Embiid had a monstrous performance in Game 2 vs. the Hawks, as the Philadelphia 76ers tied the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

He finished with a playoff career-high 40 points and 13 rebounds to help the Sixers claim an important win over Trae Young and the Hawks.