Some people really are just built different. Joel Embiid, who was initially listed as out for Game 3 of the series between the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat, decided to play through the pain to help his team.
When you look at his performance of 18 points and 11 rebounds, that would seem like a pedestrian outing by normal standards. But this was quite a different scenario. Embiid has a broken face, recently had a concussion, and had not had the chance to do much conditioning work since his injury.
None of that mattered, though, as he donned his mask and decided to stop being a spectator to the series.
This is the latest example of Embiid playing through injury to try to help the Sixers win, and no one’s ever going to call him soft or afraid. His biggest contribution to Game 3 wasn’t the points that he scored, but the inspiration he seemed to generate in his teammates. When a team’s best player is willing to leave it all on the court, they tend to follow his example.
Embiid’s comeback seemed to have a ripple effect through the Sixers roster. Danny Green turned back the clock and finished the game as Philadelphia’s joint-leading scorer with 21 points while shooting 7 of 9 from beyond the arc.
James Harden was able to focus on his playmaking instead of being relied on as the only primary scorer, finishing with 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
Tyrese Maxey was able to do his thing, especially in the second half, where he scored the bulk of his 21 points.
Embiid ended up playing a total of 36 minutes, and didn’t leave the game for good until there was just a little over two minutes left in the game. Considering that he wasn’t even supposed to play, and according to in-game announcers had been basically sitting at home for around a week, he showed true grit and leadership.
The series has now change with the return of Joel the Troel. Philadelphia can now carry momentum into Game 4, and if they manage to tie the series, it could go either way.