On Saturday, all Joel Embiid could offer the Philadelphia 76ers was encouragement. The NBA’s leading scorer and MVP finalist didn’t play due to a damaged right knee, but he was still a presence for his squad. Tobias Harris scored 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Brooklyn Nets 96-88 to complete a sweep and become the first club to advance to the second round of the playoffs.
“I would say, right now, it’s probably the same percentage I said before the game, probably 50 percent, at best.”
James Harden added 17 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds for the third-seeded 76ers. Without Embid, the Sixers relied on their defense, outscoring the Nets 21-4 over more than eight minutes in the third quarter. Maxey concluded the series with 16 points, and Paul Reed contributed 10 points and 15 rebounds after stepping in for Embiid.
Photo Cred: The Hill
For the Nets, Spencer Dinwiddie had 20 points, and Nic Claxton had 19 points and 12 rebounds. Brooklyn was swept for the second year in a row. The Nets have now lost ten consecutive postseason games. This season, they went 0-8 versus the 76ers.
Photo Cred: Yahoo Sports
If Embiid manages to get healthy for the second round, we wonder what kind of playing shape he’ll be in. There is maybe no player in the league whose quality fluctuates so wildly based on physical fitness. When Embiid is healthy, he’s the most dominant force on both ends of the floor. The Sixers can’t have a depleted version of Embiid. Against the Celtics, they could see another dispiriting second-round exit.