Going into the postseason, the biggest question mark surrounding the Sixers was Joel Embiid’s health. He’d missed 14 games after the All-Star break due to tendinitis in his troubled left knee and was listed as questionable to start their opening-round series against the Nets.
Embiid suited up for the first two games but made little impact as his team lost their opener but bounced back to win in Game 2. He then sat out all of Game 3, a 131-115 victory to take a 2-1 lead. Now that Philadelphia has seized back control of the series, he’s officially been downgraded from “questionable” to “doubtful” for Game 4 on Saturday in Brooklyn.
When asked to comment on his prized big man’s availability here in the early postseason, head coach Brett Brown said that he’s resigned himself to the fact that any playing time get from Embiid right now is a bonus.
New story: With Joel Embiid's status downgraded to doubtful for Game 4, Sixers coach Brett Brown says, "It's always best to plan that you don't have him and be really surprised and happy when you do" https://t.co/fHwdGMA8ht
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) April 19, 2019
The Sixers likely have enough talent to outlast the Nets in this series, but that certainly doesn’t bode well for Philadelphia as the postseason progresses and the competition in the East’s gauntlet ramps up.
Brown leaned heavily on Boban Marjanovic and Greg Monroe, both of whom put in respectable efforts in their Game 3 win. But they’ll need Embiid back at full strength if they want any chance of making a run at the conference finals, let alone getting past a likely showdown with the Raptors in the conference semifinals.