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The Philadelphia 76ers badly missed Joel Embiid in Game 1 against the Heat and their hopes against Miami probably won’t get brighter without their star.
Would James Harden, Tobias Harris and company have enough to challenge the Heat? Or would Philadelphia be lost without their star big man?
It looked like things might be okay after one half of play but the second half put Embiid’s absence, and DeAndre Jordan’s performance, in focus.
76ers might be completely doomed against Heat if Joel Embiid can’t play
Jordan had four points with two fouls and two turnovers in 17 minutes of action. The 76ers were -22 with him on the floor. Charles Bassey played just five minutes but at least he was +5.
There’s simply no replacing Embiid in the lineup. Bam Adebayo feasted for Miami without Embiid’s presence to disrupt him. He had 24 points and 12 rebounds at +26 on the night.
At the same time, Harden wasn’t able to find another way for Philadelphia to win. He was 5-of-13 with five turnovers, scoring 16 points.
The fact that the 76ers were 6-of-34 from 3-point distance didn’t help either.
Losing Game 1 isn’t the end for Philly. Next time out they might get hot from deep and replacement big men like Jordan might adjust their approach. A win in Game 2 would change the complexion of the series.
However, it’ll feel like the 76ers are just hanging on until Embiid can return. There is some hope he will be back for Game 3 or 4. If he can’t, then imagining Philadelphia in the next round is a tough ask.