Joel Embiid felt he "dominated" Myles Turner once more as he boosted his Defensive Player of the Year hopes in the Philadelphia 76ers' win against the Indiana Pacers.
Embiid posted 24 points, five assists and 13 rebounds – all on the defensive end – as the Sixers raced to a 130-114 victory, improving to 23-12 at the top of the East.
It was a fourth defeat in a row for the Pacers and a punishing night for center Turner, who had promised to "step up to the challenge" of taking on MVP contender Embiid.
Turner is now 4-7 against Embiid in their career regular-season matchups, only once surpassing 11 points – his contribution on Monday – across those 11 games (25 points in March 2018).
By contrast, Embiid has averaged 28 points against the Pacers and enjoyed two of his 12 career 40-point games in meetings with Turner.
"He's a great player and I have a lot of respect for him," Embiid said of Turner, who joined the NBA the year before him.
"I say this respectfully: that's a matchup that I have dominated since I got to the league."
While Embiid looks to be going toe-to-toe with LeBron James for the MVP award, he says a DPOY challenge is also on the cards.
Rudy Gobert is widely considered the leading candidate for the outstanding Utah Jazz, topping the charts for defensive rebounds with 9.9 per game, Turner has been mooted as an alternative.
He has a sublime 3.4 blocks per game – well clear of second-placed Gobert's 2.8 – but could not live with Embiid, who averages 9.2 defensive rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 1.2 steals.
"[Turner] is a great defender," Embiid said. "He leads the league in blocks, he should be up there for Defensive Player of the Year, and that's also one of my goals.
"In those types of matchups, that's where you've got to take advantage. Especially if I have my eyes set on being the Defensive Player of the Year."