Joel Embiid made a return to the Sixers lineup, leading the team to the 99-79 win in South Philadelphia on Friday night. The MVP Candidate scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds but he felt his real impact was on the defensive end.
“I didn’t think I had a lot of energy, honestly,” Embiid told the media in Philadelphia after Game 3. “I was really trying to really get through it. Kind of, you just use my presence out there as a decoy. I feel like I pride myself really defensively. And I feel like that’s where my presence is really felt. On the defensive end. So that’s one of the main reasons why playing I thought I could have a huge impact.”
Tyrese Maxey, who lead the team with 21 points, said he felt the difference on the defensive end of the court with Embiid out there.
“Yeah, he’s [Joel Embiid] the anchor. He’s the anchor. And he knows all the coverages. And he’s talking to us. It’s a little bit harder for DJ [DeAndre Jordan] because he came in mid-season, so everything was on the fly. But, just his presence. His presence. He’s 7-foot, 7-foot-1, and he’s a big body down there. It’s hard to go in there and drive into him. It makes it difficult for the opposing. And we really do appreciate him for that.”
Philadelphia surrendered just 79 points in Game 3 after 112.5 points per game over the first two contests.
“It was very annoying just watching,” Embiid added. “Obviously, we didn’t make shots, but we also made a lot of mistakes. Whether it was offensive rebounding or turnovers. Their big fella, Bam [Adebayo], was dominating. And I was really pissed off watching another big man play well against my team. It’s unfortunate. Can’t take it back. Now we’ve just got to focus on the next game.”
Full Sixers-Heat Remaining Schedule
- Game 4: Sunday, 5/8 in Philadelphia
- Game 5: Tuesday, 5/10 in Miami
- Game 6: Thursday, 5/12 in Philadelphia (if necessary)
- Game 7: Sunday, 5/15 in Miami (if necessary)
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Current Sixers-Heat Series Odds