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LeBron to sit rest of the season, all but guaranteeing the scoring title for Sixers’ Joel Embiid

Barring a dismal final two games, Embiid should win this year’s scoring crown.

Los Angeles Lakers v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

With just two games remaining in the regular season, Philadelphia 76ers superstar Joel Embiid (30.4 points per game) holds a slim lead over LeBron James (30.3 points) for the scoring title. At one point, it looked as though this race would be decided over the final weekend of the year.

Yet the Los Angeles Lakers announced Friday that James will sit out the final two regular-season games as he recovers from a sprained ankle. To be eligible for the scoring title, James needed to play at least 58 games. He will end the year at 56.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is third in scoring at 29.9 points per game. For a while, these three were nearly in lockstep, but a few recent explosions from Embiid and James slightly distanced themselves from the two-time MVP.

If these standings hold, Embiid will be the first center since Shaquille O’Neal to win the scoring race and the first center since Moses Malone to average at least 30 points. Regardless of how the MVP results shake out, those will be pretty cool accomplishments in what’s been a truly masterful season from Embiid.