The Philadelphia 76ers went on quite a run recently. Before their loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, they’d won 13 of their previous 15 games, including wins against the Toronto Raptors, Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics over the last 10 days. Against the Nets, though, the Sixers looked like a weary team playing their third game in four nights. With Al Horford also shooting 5-of-15 and not looking anything like his best after returning from left knee soreness and left hamstring tightness, the Sixers missed Embiid.
Embiid was ruled out with upper respiratory illness against Brooklyn, but returned to practice today and is expected to be available for the Sixers’ home game against the Miami Heat on Wednesday, per NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Serena Winters.
The Sixers dominated the Heat in their last matchup on November 23, winning 113-86. They had their way the entire game and Josh Richardson had a monster performance against his former team, scoring a season-high 32 points on 11-of-15 shooting (6-of-7 from three).
Another easy win can’t be the expectation, though. The Heat still sitting at fourth place in the Eastern Conference with a 19-8 record. Led by Jimmy Butler continuing to play like one of the NBA’s premier players and and Bam Adebayo taking a leap as a terrific defensive, athletic, playmaking big, the Heat are a good team.
Embiid’s scoring cooled off as the Sixers beat the New Orleans Pelicans last Friday, shooting just 6-of-16 from the floor, but before that he put together his best performance of the season against Boston. With 38 points (12-of-21 shooting, with a 2-of-3 mark from beyond the arc and 12-of-14 from the free throw line), 13 rebounds, 6 assists to 2 turnovers and a huge block in the final 20 seconds, he hardly could’ve done any more to silence his critics.
If Embiid returns and plays anywhere near that level that against the Heat, the Sixers have a good chance of maintaining their undefeated (14-0) home record.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.