Philadelphia – The specter of operation is back – and for Philadelphia 76ersNot a moment too soon.
Joel Embiid He came back after missing more than a week with a facial fracture and concussion, to play 36 minutes, score 18 points and get 11 rebounds to lead his stomach 76 to a. 99-79 victory over Miami Heat In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, he returned Philadelphia to the series after dropping their opening games.
Embiid answered “No” when asked if there was a moment when he thought he wouldn’t be returning to the series. “When it happened, after we found out what really happened, I didn’t think about it [the possibility of not playing].
“I thought about what I was going to do to make sure I came back at any point in that series, whether it was game one or two or game three or game four. I was doing everything that was really possible, whatever it was that I could try to come back.”
Embiid has spent the past several days dealing with the aftermath of his concussion when he was hit in the face with a Raptors elbow forward. Pascal Siakam In Philadelphia’s victory over Toronto in the sixth round of the first-round series last week.
He was finally cleared of league concussion protocols on Thursday, but said he needed to find out how he responded to action on Thursday before it could be decided whether he would be officially able to play.
In the end, he was announced as part of the starting lineup after he ran the field for his usual practice about 45 minutes before the tip – one he passed while wearing the mask he would need to wear in the game.
“I can only imagine how difficult it was,” he said. James Harden, who scored 17 points and six assists in 38 minutes. “I mean, I’ve had a concussion before, so just to get rid of a concussion, obviously swollen face, he still has a hand problem.
“But it was game time. It was winning time. It’s playoffs. Joel knew how much we needed him, and he shot him. His dominance on both ends of the ball is so important to this team, he’s so valuable to this team.
“That’s why he’s the best player and that has fed us off and we have to keep pushing.”
Before the game, 76ers coach Doc Rivers said he wasn’t sure if Embiid would be limited in his minutes due to the lack of adequate time he was able to get over the past week while dealing with a concussion.
In the end, Embiid was able to play 36 minutes – including the first 15 minutes of the second half, after some pressure from Rivers to keep him at the start of the fourth quarter after Miami reduced Philadelphia’s lead to 3.
Embiid then admitted that he had been struggling with his conditioning throughout the match and said he thinks it will be much better when things resume here Sunday night in Game 4.
“Honestly, I didn’t think I had that much energy,” Embiid said. “I was really trying to, you know, really get over it, and kinda use my presence there as a decoy.
“What I’m really proud of is being defensive and I feel like that’s where, you know, my presence is really felt in a defensive position, and that’s really one of the main reasons why I think playing is going to make a huge impact.”
Embiid said he was “angry” by watching him Pam Adebayo The 76ers demolished in Games 1 and 2 while watching from home, unable to help. In Game 3, Adebayo — who averaged 23.5 points and 10.5 rebounds while shooting 15-21 in the first two games of the series — was wiped out of the action, finishing the game with nine points, three rebounds, one assist and while making five fouls within 33 minutes.
“he is [made] Heat coach Eric Spoelstra said: “He made a huge impact. That’s what you should expect. He’s an MVP of caliber. He’s also often nominated as Defensive Player of the Year. You have to be very intentional on both sides.
“We don’t expect it to be easy. They’ve been a very good team all year, and so have we been. We were expecting him to be available in all groups. We just have to find out.”
Since Embiid did not speak to the media after Match Six and has since been discharged with a concussion, he also spoke for the first time about the play in which he sustained the injury. Embiid said he couldn’t believe Siakam, a native of Cameroon, had not intentionally hit him with his elbow.
He also provided a long, thoughtful answer about the interactions between fans and players in general in the NBA today, including hearing chants of “F—Embiid” throughout the series and how fans there reacted after being hit in the face.
“I don’t think it was intentional,” Embiid said. “That’s my man, obviously. It’s unfortunate. I don’t think he meant to do that. But, you know, I was more upset to realize when that really happened to the fans and I’ve always thought they were the fans, but I kind of changed my mind, You know, about the fans out there. Whether it’s the whole series, the “F—” cheers and all that stuff. That’s cool.
“It never really bothered me, anyway. I think they went crazy because I did the plane celebration, but it’s been happening in a few arenas these days, where fans feel, it’s okay to say ‘F- someone.'” There is a group of children in the yard. I don’t think that should be good, even if there are no kids, but it’s almost like, if you respond, it’s roughly, in the Draymond situation, the league fines you.
“It doesn’t bother me. I’m just talking, really, about everyone in the NBA. Like I said, if you give it, you should be able to accept it. And I said it about our fans too, when they boo. If the players are going to come back, you should be. able to take it too.”
Embiid’s presence – a word that Rivers and Embiid’s teammates used several times during the available post-game period to describe his impact – was too much for the Heat in Game 3, even with the return of Embiid. Kyle Lowry. Having missed the past four games with a hamstring injury, Lowry played 25 minutes in his hometown on Friday, missing all four of his shots and losing goals while providing three assists.
“I had a good day of working out,” Laurie said afterwards. “I just managed to find the rhythm. I wasn’t expecting to be amazing tonight. I wasn’t expecting to get zero points, but just try to get used to the match, just be there, especially in this hostile situation I wanted to be there with my group.”
“We have to recover and continue to prepare for the next match.”
For his part, Ambied received a similar message for his team.
“We’re 2-1 behind, so we still have a long way to go,” he said.
“We can’t go down 3-1. So we really need this match on Sunday.”