Published: Sat, April 14, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Sixers big man Joel Embiid officially out for Game 1 vs. Heat

Sixers big man Joel Embiid officially out for Game 1 vs. Heat

"I always believed in myself, I knew what I was capable of". Actually, I wouldn't say that because I don't think I'm ready to play, because it still doesn't feel all the way right.

It seems cliché to suggest the playoffs are different than the regular season, but they really are. The rookie class, including Fultz and Simmons have taken huge strides in becoming super stars and Joel Embiid has the chance of becoming an MVP candidate for years to come.

"I'm actually surprised how fast it is getting better", he said. The contributions of seasoned snipers like Marco Belinelli, Ersan Ilyasova and J.J. Redick, plus small forward Robert Covington, have bolstered the lineup with elite perimeter sharp-shooting, a skill the team lacked in seasons prior. That could be a bit misleading in that Bayless is completely out of the rotation, while Anderson doesn't routinely play.

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If a team - especially during playoff season - declares a player out and that player proceeds to suit up anyway, there'd be an investigation conducted by the league office and the offending team could potentially be subjected to "some type of discipline for it", a league official said. Instead it was a banner night for the 76ers bench with four players reaching double figures including Justin Anderson's game-leading 25 points.

"It just shows what I can do". Sure some questions remain regarding Embiid's health and endurance as well as this team's overall lack of playoff experience the 76ers still enter the post season with the most momentum of any franchise in either conference.

Much will depend on the progress of Joel Embiid's return from an orbital bone fracture in his left eye-but who's to say that the Sixers bypass all of the timetables and win the National Basketball Association championship this year? While Richardson was the one guarding Simmons most of the time in Miami's first matchup against Philadelphia, the Heat turned to Winslow and Johnson over the teams' final three meetings of the regular season. So it's not the time to panic over inexperience or try to tinker with the rotation. For the Heat, however, Goran Dragic (knee) returns for the Heat after missing Wednesday night's win against the Toronto Raptors for precautionary reasons.

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He also averaged career-highs in points-per-game (11.5), assists-per-game (2.7), rebounds-per-game (5.7), minutes-per-game (23.4) and field-goals-per-game (4.2).

On the season, the 76ers are averaging 109.8 points, 47.4 rebounds and 27.1 assists per game. We won a lot of games.

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