Joel Embiid suffered an ankle injury yesterday against the Blazers in the 1st quarter and did not return to the game. At the time of this article his status is uncertain.
The Sixers must now adjust to life without Ben Simmons. The all-star guard will undergo surgery to repair what was officially diagnosed as a subluxation of the left patella. A subluxation is a partial and temporary dislocation; the patella is the kneecap.
It appears extremely doubtful that he will return this season. The team will resort to more post-ups to manufacture offense. They will not be as fast or as strong defensively. I think the scoring production of Tobias Harris and Al Horford will go up and look for more contributions from Alec Burke.
In the playoffs, I do not expect to see a great deal of Furkan Korkmaz or Raul Neto. Mike Scott will help — if he can find his 3-point shot. The 76ers will go as far as Joel Embiid can carry them. He is dominating in the post and averaging 30.2 points and13.7 rebounds. So, let look at our two-potential 1st round opponents.
The Heat are currently ranked 4th in the conference. They are without Jimmy Butler who suffered an ankle injury. They shoot well from 3-point range at an average of 38%. They get good production from the bench. Miami averages 41 points in bench scoring. The Heat play solid defense. They are 5th in the league in assist per game. Bam Adebayo is good big man who blocks shots and passes well.
The Celtics are ranked 3rd in the conference. They are relatively healthy with Kemba Walker recovering from an injury. Walker is using the restart to get back in shape and his minutes are being restricted. Boston plays exceptional defense and shoot well from the perimeter. Jason Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Gordon Hayward are all exceptional scorers. Marcus Smart is the toughest defender on the team. He has added a three-point shot to his arsenal. The C’s average 28 points in bench scoring.
The Sixers would fare better facing the Heat if Simmons were available to guard Butler. Philly would dominate the inside match-ups. Miami would hurt the Sixers from outside but Boston poses that same threat. Miami is the top team in the league in 3-point percentage. Sixers defense against the 3 is ranked in the middle of NBA at 15th.
The Sixers without Ben look better going against the Celtics. Philly has lost to the Heat in 3 of 4 contests this season. Philly has beaten the Celtics 3 of 4. The loss was a game that Embiid went 1-11 and 0-4 from 3-point range. That should not happen again, and Philly wins in 6 games.
Embiid suffered an ankle injury yesterday against the Blazers in the 1st quarter and did not return to the game. At the time of this article his status is uncertain.
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