Joel Embiid brushed off questions about being driven to win the MVP this season after leading the Philadelphia 76ers to a 105-87 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.
Embiid was named on Thursday as a starter in the All-Star Game, as he scored 26 points with nine rebounds and seven assists in the 76ers' win.
The 27-year-old center's haul extended his run to 16 straight games scoring 25 points or more, while it also helped the 76ers to 13 wins from their past 16 games.
Embiid missed out on last season's MVP award with an untimely late season knee injury not helping, finishing third behind Nikola Jokic and Stephen Curry, but he brushed off questions about being driven to win that accolade.
"To be the MVP, you need to win games and that's been my main focus," Embiid told ESPN after the win over the Lakers.
"We've got to continue to do, what we've been doing. We've been playing great of late.
"Obviously we started the year pretty well, then COVID hit us and I missed a couple of games and we lost a couple of them but now we've started to get back in the rhythm and get some guys back.
"To be the MVP, my focus is on winning."
Embiid was critical of his own performance on Thursday as he matched up with Anthony Davis, who scored a game-high 31 points and also had 12 rebounds.
"I'm p****d off I had a bad night tonight," Embiid said. "I'm glad we got the win. That's a big win in our quest to be the number one seed."
Embiid also praised second-season guard Tyrese Maxey who added 14 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists and continues to ably fill Ben Simmons' void.
"Maxey has been great," Embiid said. "He needs to continue to keep doing whatever he's been doing."