Is Joel Embiid playing in Game 1 for the 76ers against the Celtics? Philadelphia’s star big man is dealing with a knee sprain.
The Philadelphia 76ers swept the Nets to advance to the second round of the NBA Playoffs but the job gets much tougher from here. That’s not just because they’re going against the Boston Celtics.
Star center Joel Embiid sprained his LCL in Game 3 of the first-round sweep. He missed Game 4 and over the weekend, head coach Doc Rivers was candid about his prospects for playing, listing him as doubtful.
On Monday morning, Embiid was still officially listed as doubtful, but his status was clarified further on Monday evening.
Joel Embiid injury update: 76ers star is out for Game 1
ESPN Sources: Philadelphia Sixers star Joel Embiid has been ruled out of Game 1 vs. the Boston Celtics tonight with a sprained right knee. There is optimism of a possible return for Game 2 on Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/AE8ksjKKmW
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 1, 2023
The 76ers officially listed Embiid as out for Game 1 an hour and a half before tip off.
That’s definitely a blow to Philadephia’s chances, though Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla himself was quick to point out that the 76ers are 12-5 this season with Embiid out, per Jay King of The Athletic.
One of those 12 victories was the decisive Game 4 victory over the Nets with Tobias Harris putting up 25 points and 12 rebounds while James Harden had 17 points and 11 assists. DeAnthony Melton came up with 15 points off the bench.
The 76ers will likely deploy a smaller lineup, looking to take advantage of speed matchups and spacing the floor.
Regardless, oddsmakers already had Boston as a heavy favorite in Game at -9.5.
The last time the 76ers and Celtics faced off in the playoffs was 2020 when Boston pulled off a four-game sweep. The Celtics also won their 2018 and 2012 meetings in the second round. In fact, Philadelphia hasn’t beaten Boston in a playoff series since 1982.
Embiid’s status for future games in the series figures to help determine whether the 76ers can break that long streak of futility against Boston.
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