With Joel Embiid sidelined for at least the first two games against Miami, the road to the Eastern Conference Finals and beyond looks a lot tougher than it did a week ago.
It’s unfortunate that Embiid is set to miss this time as his fractured his orbital bone was caused by a flying elbow from Pascal Sikam in the final minutes of a series victory in Toronto but this shouldn’t be the end of the road for the 2022 Sixers.
The Sixers leaned on their superstar center every game this season, and it figures Embiid is set to miss consecutive games for the first time since missing nine games with Covid in November. Embiid hasn’t exactly been a model of health since his entrance into the league, but as he has matured it seems as if he is figuring out that he needs to be on the floor consistently in order for the team to win.
Embiid was already battling a fractured thumb which clearly impacted his ability on the floor so the Sixers weren’t getting a healthy Embiid anyway in this series. Embiid has constantly picked up his teammates this season, so it’s only fair that James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris step up in Embiid’s absence.
The Sixers need the same Tobias Harris that they got in round 1. They need the same Tyrese Maxey that was pulling up from the logo with authority but also showing off some unreal moves to finish at the rim. Most importantly, the Sixers do not need 10+ assists from Harden on Monday and Wednesday, they need an aggressive Harden who is going to show why the Sixers brought him here.
If the Sixers have any shot at advancing past the second round for the first time in 22 years, they must win at least one game in Miami without Embiid, they owe it to him.
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