LOS ANGELES – Philadelphia’s Star Center Joel Embiid returns from injury and the energetically reborn 76ers beat the Miami Heat 99-79 on Friday to reclaim one game in their NBA playoff series.
Embiid missed the Sixers’ double-digit loss in the first two games after he suffered a concussion and fractured orbit in the win over Toronto in the first series.
With his return confirmed shortly before the start in Philadelphia, Embiid scored 18 points and pulled back 11 rebounds as the 76ers cut their deficit in the best Eastern Conference series of seven games to 2-1.
“I tried to push as hard as I could, I’m glad we got the win,” said Embiid, who played with a protective mask but was clearly still in pain as he brought his hand to his face towards the end of the match. .
Danny Green pulled out seven of his nine three-point attempts on his way to a 21-point win for Philadelphia. Tyrese Maxey scored all of his 21 points in a stellar second-half performance.
Maxey continued his slump after former MVP James Harden scored the Sixers in the first half to pick up 17 points and eight assists.
Jimmy Butler leads the Heat with 33 points. Tyler Herro added 14 games off the bench but keeper Kyle Lowry, returning from missing four games with a hamstring strain, failed to score.
The 76ers avoid falling into a deep hole 3-0. No NBA team has returned from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven series, and Philadelphia will attempt to level the streak when they host Wednesday’s game on Sunday.
While Embiid took time throughout the game to wipe his face and the inside of his mask, he ran the court and didn’t shy away from contact, his presence made all the difference in the Sixers’ defence. have kept Miami with their second lowest total score of the season.
Embiid, who is also playing with a ligament in his right thumb, was definitely showing signs of rust and, late in the game, tired.
Just play hard
The Cameroon big man, who has been unable to do his conditioning work while suffering from concussion symptoms for the week, said he hopes to improve.
“I’m definitely not good tonight,” said Embiid. “You look at what I was able to do in the regular season, until I improved myself, helped my teammates go up, I wasn’t even close to what I could have achieved.
“So hopefully it can get better in the next few days. As a team, we have to move the ball, find the opener, then defend together and play hard. ”
Up four goals in the first half, the Sixers led 41-32 at halftime and were never out of place in the second half.
After the Heat finished 57-57 in the third inning, Maxey made his first shot of the night – a three-pointer – then made a steal and a steal to push the ratio up. numbers up 62-57.
Embiid drove through traffic to score at the rim and Philadelphia took a 68-65 lead in the final inning which they pushed up to 75-65 in the first minutes of the fourth inning.
Both teams sat warm-up in the final minutes.
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