But Drummond didn’t see Monday night’s wake-up call coming, according to his Philadelphia 76ers counterpart.
Embiid dominated the six-year veteran, scoring 30 points on 11-for-15 shooting to lift the 76ers to a 97-86 win at Detroit. Embiid told The Philadelphia Inquirer that he watched game footage of Drummond before the game and that it gave him the edge he needed.
“Defensively, he doesn’t play any defense,” Embiid said of what he learned while studying Drummond, according to The Inquirer.
By Embiid’s reckoning, Drummond began the game with all the confidence of the player who, according to basketball-reference.com, led the NBA in defensive rating last season.
“When we started the game, he was being aggressive,” Embiid said, “and he was talking too. … So what I was like [in my mind], ‘You want to do that? I’m going to kick your [butt] then.’ So that’s what I did.”
Detroit trailed by 21 in the second quarter but had cut the deficit to four after a 6-0 run late in the fourth. But an awkward-looking hook shot by Drummond missed everything, and the 76ers were able to close out the game. Drummond finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds.
“In my mind, I was like, ‘You want to switch up, because you are playing against me. You want to be all physical and talk [trash],'” Embiid said of Drummond. “So I was like, ‘You are going to get your [butt beat].’ I love that.”
Embiid had sat out Saturday’s loss at Toronto, held out of the back-to-back on doctor’s orders, as the 76ers remain careful with the surgically repaired left knee that kept him out of much of last season.
On Monday night, Embiid played 28 minutes and grabbed nine rebounds, though he did turn the ball over seven times.
— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) October 24, 2017
Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy lamented that the Pistons again gave up a big lead early. They also trailed the New York Knicks by 21 on Saturday before rallying to win 111-107.
“It’s mind-boggling to have two games in a row where we weren’t ready to play,” Van Gundy said. “We have to figure out a way to fix that, whether those five guys can boost the intensity or if we have to change the lineup.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.