Joel Embiid is back to lead the 76ers in a 3-game Heat win

PHILADELPHIA – Joel Embiid spent a whole week complaining. Her broken finger needs to be operated on.

MVP form? Not here. But Embiid put on his black hat and stabbed the 76ers – as well as sports fans – with refreshing athletic ambitions.

Embiid strengthened the 76ers with a comeback from a head injury, Danny Green and Tyrese Maxey each scored 21 points and Philadelphia beat the Miami Heat 99-79 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Friday night.

“We have a chance to win everything,” Embiid said. “We need to be healthy.”

The Heat led the series 2-1. Game 4 is Sunday in Philadelphia.

Wearing a hammer-tested mask, Embiid had 18 points and 11 rebounds after missing the first two games of the series with an orbital fracture to the right and a slight hit that occurred in the final round. Embiid was not strong all that time and tired as the game progressed. With Green, Maxey and James Harden all smashing Heat meetings with big buckets, Embiid didn’t have to carry the Sixers.

But the 76ers were glad he was back.

Joel Embiid finished with 18 points on his return from injury.
Getty Images

“Any plan you can have with Joel as part of that plan is the best plan,” said coach Doc Rivers.

Although Rivers failed to create a plan that included a game that helped end the game: Maxey ran the court to save the basketball and was thrown over the shoulder. The 76ers saved the ball and Embiid sealed the fallen container with a free kick of 86-74.

Embiid was good. Green was fine. Green hits made 6 of 7 3-pointers across the top three, shown by those who chased Miami runners and extended the Sixers lead to 54-50 and 57-51. Green missed 9 out of 10 3s in Game 2.

Tyler Herro, however, had his two hard-hits 3 last minute and pulled the Heat to 68-65 to close out the third. He was 14 years old and joined Jimmy Butler as the only Heat of the two. Butler led the Heat by 33 points.

Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler’s 33-point-high-points were not enough for the Heat.

“You add Jo to any team, home or elsewhere, sports, scout report, it changes a lot,” Butler said. “It has been so throughout his career.”

Maxey’s last three records made 92-77, and, all of a sudden, the Sixers have a new life on the list.

The 76ers have not won a playoff series in 19 trials after losing the first two games.

The NBA scoring tournament supports this.

“Even if he is not healthy, he is very supportive,” Green said.

Tyrese Maxey took part in the 76ers' Game 3 win over the Heat.
Tyrese Maxey took part in the 76ers’ Game 3 win over the Heat.
NBAE via Getty Images

Embiid said he was cleared the day before and the prospect of being able to play was Philly’s problem. As they rushed outside to warm up wearing a mask, Sixers fans roared and started “MVP! MVP!” songs that are the most important in the arena.

When Sixers team spokesman Matt Cord announced “no injuries” on the game report, Sixers fans reacted angrily. Embiid heard a loud bang at the start of the line and the Sixers were encouraged by his presence. It was hard to say that sometimes Embiid missed a long time.

“I knew his presence could affect him,” Rivers said. “I was hopeful.”

He was just 5 out of 12 from the ground in 36 minutes. Embiid is still playing with a right-footed injury that will require surgery.

“I’m doing everything we can to protect ourselves as much as we can,” Embiid said.

Embiid – who led the 76ers with 30.6 points and 11.7 rebounds this season – played 3 games with his presence. Miami All-Star center Bam Adebayo, who scored 24 points in Game 1 and 23 in Game 2, was only five in the first half.

“I was (angry) seeing a big man play well with my team,” Embiid said.

Embiid laughed, however, after the game was over on social media. He posted on Twitter a picture of “The Wire” Stringer Bell with the words from the show: “I want you to explain the words we agree with.”

The big man is really behind – as well as the 76ers.

“This is what you should expect,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He is an MVP-caliber player.”


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