The Philadelphia 76ers’ title hopes this season hit a snag after star center Joel Embiid suffered a concussion and fractured orbital bone late in the team’s series-clinching win over the Toronto Raptors.
Embiid has missed Philadelphia’s past two games versus the Miami Heat. He is currently listed as out for Game 3, however, there is still a chance that he’ll suit up. The five-time NBA All-Star is reportedly “determined to try” to play through his injury, as he believes that Philadelphia can win the championship this season.
“Embiid is determined to try and play through it once he’s medically cleared from the NBA’s concussion protocols because, as sources close to him said, he feels the Sixers still have a chance to win a title this season,” wrote Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.
Philadelphia has sorely missed Embiid’s presence in its two most recent matches. In the two games, the team lost to the Heat by a combined 30 points.
Miami has done a good job of containing James Harden, limiting the former MVP to 18.0 points per game on 39.3 percent shooting from the field so far in the series.
Other Sixers players have stepped up amid Embiid’s absence and Harden’s struggles, including Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris. Maxey has emerged as one of the team’s most potent scorers. In the series against the Heat, he is averaging 26.5 points per game. Harris is not that far behind with 24.0 points per contest.
Still, if the Sixers want to contend for the title, they will certainly need Embiid, who is one of the finalists for the Most Valuable Player award this season.
As for Miami, it is hoping to get back to the NBA Finals after last getting there in 2020. It is off to a good start after losing just one game in the first round against the Atlanta Hawks and taking care of business against the Sixers so far in the second round.