Philadelphia 76ers Attempt Sweep Without Joel Embiid

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid will miss Game 4 against the Brooklyn Nets due to a knee injury.

Joel Embiid
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid grimaces in pain due to a knee injury sustained against the Brooklyn Nets in Game 3 of the NBA Playoffs at Barclay’s Center. (Image: USA Today Sports)

The #3 76ers will attempt to sweep the #6 Nets in Game 4 on Saturday, but will do so without Embiid in the lineup. In 16 games this season without Embiid, the 76ers went 11-5.

Embiid sustained a sprained right knee on Game 3 on Thursday in a 102-97 victory to put the 76ers ahead 3-0 in the series. Forward Cam Johnson from the Nets and Embiid were tangled up in the second half, which is the most-likely source of the knee injury. Embiid finished Game 3 with 14 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and one steal.

In three playoff games so far, Embiid averaged 26 points, 11.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 2.3 blocks per game. During the regular season, Embiid led the NBA in scoring by averaging 33.1 points per game. He was ranked #8 overall in rebounding with 10.2 boards per game.

Embiid is the NBA MVP front runner and currently the betting favorite to win the NBA MVP this season. He’s track to deny a third-straight MVP win for Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic.

Embiid Hurt Again in the Postseason

The future of the 76ers during the playoffs was dependent upon Embiid’s health. If Embiid avoided the injury bug, then the 76ers could make a deep run and compete with the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics for the Eastern Conference title.

In the last five postseasons, Embiid battled numerous injuries and the 76ers failed to reach the Eastern Conference Finals. Aside from a first-round exit in 2020, the 76ers were eliminated in the conference semifinals four times since 2018.

During the 2018 playoffs, Embiid missed two games at the start of the first round due to an orbital fracture. The 76ers were knocked out in the second round by the Celtics.

In the 2019 playoffs, Embiid missed one game against the Nets in the first round due to stomach flu, but the 76ers were knocked out in the conference semifinals by the Toronto Raptors in a thrilling seven-game series.

Inside the NBA Playoff Bubble in 2020, Embiid did not miss any games but he was hampered by an ankle injury and the 76ers were swept by the celtics.

Embiid missed almost two full games in the first round in 2021 with a slight MCL tear, but the 76ers edged out the Washington Wizards without him. The 76ers were picked off by the red-hot Atlanta Hawks in the second round.

Last season, Embiid suffered an orbital fracture in the final game of the first round against the Raptors. He missed a couple of games at the start of second round against the Miami Heat, and the 76ers were eliminated in six games.

Nets on Verge Another First-Round Sweep

The Nets attempt to avoid a first-round sweep for a second postseason in a row. Last year, the Nets had the #7 seed were eliminated by the #2 Boston Celtics in four games.

After losing two key players at the trade deadline, the Nets were simply happy to advance to the playoffs and avoid the Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament as the #6 seed. The Nets dealt All-Star big man Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns, and traded disgruntled guard Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavs. Durant instantly made the Suns a title contender, but the Mavs went off the rails after they acquired Irving and missed the playoffs completely.

Meanwhile, the Nets chugged along post-trade deadline. Forward Mikal Bridges, a former defensive stopper with the Suns, emerged as an major offensive threat after he joined the Nets in a the blockbuster trade package for Durant. Bridges averaged 26.1 points per game in 27 games with the Nets, which was nine points above his best season with the Suns. In three playoff games, Bridges leads the Nets with 25.7 points while shooting 42.1% from 3-point range.

Forward Cam Johnson was another ex-Suns player who was shipped to Brooklyn in the Durant trade, averages 21 points per game in the playoffs as the Nets second-best scorer.

The Nets averaged only 94 points per game against the 76ers this series. Other than Bridges and Johnson, the Nets have not gotten any consistent scoring aside from guard Spencer Dinwiddie.




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Betting the 76ers in Game 4 and Beyond

The Nets opened Game 4 as a +4 home dog, but that was before the 76ers announced that Embiid would sit out Game 4 with a knee injury. The Nets are still an underdog and currently +1.5 heading into Game 4.

The 7ers were the best betting team in the NBA this season with a 49-34-2 record against the point spread. The Nets covered the first two games of the series, but narrowly missed a cover in Game 3 by a single point.

The 76ers are +900 odds to win the 2022-23 NBA championship, according to DraftKings. When the playoffs began, the 76ers were +1000 odds.

FiveThirtyEight updated their NBA postseason projections. The 76ers have a 28% chance to advance to the 2023 NBA Finals, and have an 18% chance to win the championship. The Celtics are the only other team with a higher projection to win the title at 25%.

When the regular season ended, the 76ers were awarded the #3 sed in the Eastern Conference. They were +475 odds to win the east, but their conference title odds are currently +450.

Before Game 1 tipped off, the 76ers were -900 odds to win the series. With the 76ers on the verge of sweeping the Nets, their series odds are now -20000 as a massive favorite. The Nets are a long shot to rally back and win the series at +3000 odds.

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