Will Joel Embiid Play in Game 3 Against the Miami Heat?
Basketball fans and bettors eagerly await the news of Joel Embiid’s availability for Game 3 between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat. The 76ers initially ruled Embiid out due to an orbital fracture, but there have been updates, and now his status for the game is listed as doubtful. This uncertainty has created a lot of buzz and speculation surrounding Embiid’s potential return to the court.
The Injury and Absence of Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid sustained an orbital fracture and a concussion in Game 6 of the first round against the Toronto Raptors. As a result, he has missed the first two games of the Eastern Conference semifinals. While the 76ers traveled to Miami for Games 1 and 2, Embiid remained in Philadelphia for treatments and recovery.
Unfortunately for the 76ers, the Miami Heat won both games, taking a commanding 2-0 series lead. Embiid’s absence has been felt on the court, affecting the team’s performance and leaving fans and analysts wondering if his return could make a significant difference.
The Impact on Betting Odds
The uncertainty surrounding Joel Embiid’s availability has had a noticeable impact on the betting odds for Game 3. Initially, oddsmakers, assuming Embiid would play, set the 76ers as a -1 favorite. However, after the team announced him as out, the line quickly shifted, making the 76ers a +3 underdog at home.
The situation took another turn when the 76ers upgraded Embiid’s status to doubtful. As a result, the line changed again, with the 76ers now being a +1 home underdog, or even a pick’em at certain sportsbooks in Las Vegas.
The Significance of Joel Embiid’s Potential Return
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra expressed the significant impact Joel Embiid’s return could have on the series. With Embiid being an MVP-caliber player, his presence on the court would undoubtedly change the dynamics of the matchup.
The Miami Heat currently hold a strong position in the series, with odds heavily favoring them to win. According to DraftKings, the Heat are listed at -1400 to win the series, while the 76ers face long odds at +800 for a comeback victory.
Looking beyond this series, the Miami Heat are also viewed as strong contenders for the 2022 NBA championship, with odds set at +475. In contrast, the 76ers find themselves as significant underdogs on the futures board with a +8000 odds for winning the championship.
Embiid’s Potential Return and Future Games
While the likelihood of Joel Embiid playing in Game 3 remains uncertain, there is hope for his return in Game 4 on Sunday. However, 76ers coach Doc Rivers acknowledged that there are still hurdles for Embiid to overcome before he can step back onto the court.
Rivers emphasized that he is not a doctor and is not fully aware of the concussion protocols and other considerations involved in Embiid’s recovery. Despite officially clearing concussion protocol, Embiid is still listed as out for Game 3.
In the absence of Embiid, Doc Rivers has opted for a “small-ball” lineup, starting backup center DeAndre Jordan in Games 1 and 2. However, this strategy did not yield the desired results, with the 76ers suffering defeats in both games by double-digit margins.
The small-ball lineup saw limited minutes for DeAndre Jordan, with Philadelphia utilizing forwards Paul Reed and Georges Niang as alternatives. Jordan averaged 5 points and 3.5 assists per game as a starter, but the change in lineup did not tip the scales in the 76ers’ favor.
Impact on Scoring and Expectations
Joel Embiid led the NBA in scoring during the regular season, averaging an impressive 30.6 points per game. With his absence, the 76ers looked to other key players to provide the offensive firepower needed to compete against the Heat.
However, the leading scorers in the first two games were not the expected candidates. Tobias Harris led the 76ers with 27 points in Game 1, while Tyrese Maxey stepped up in Game 2 with an impressive 34 points. James Harden, who was brought in to bolster scoring, averaged 18 points per game but fell short of the high expectations placed upon him.
Embiid’s potential return to the Philadelphia 76ers lineup in Game 3 against the Miami Heat remains uncertain. The team’s listing of him as doubtful after initially ruling him out has created a sense of anticipation for fans and bettors alike.
The impact of Embiid’s presence on the court is undeniable, potentially shifting the dynamics of the series. Currently trailing 2-0, the 76ers face an uphill battle against the favored Miami Heat.
While the immediate focus is on Game 3, the implications stretch beyond this single matchup. The odds for the series heavily favor the Miami Heat, who also have strong championship aspirations. On the other hand, the 76ers find themselves in a position of being significant underdogs in their pursuit of the championship.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Will Joel Embiid play in Game 3 against the Miami Heat?
The official listing at the moment is doubtful, but there is a possibility of his return. It will depend on his recovery and meeting the necessary protocols.
2. How has Embiid’s absence affected the Philadelphia 76ers?
The 76ers have struggled without Embiid, losing the first two games of the series. His absence has impacted their offense and overall performance on the court.
3. What are the odds of the Miami Heat winning the series?
The Miami Heat are currently heavy favorites to win the series, with odds set at -1400. They hold a 2-0 lead and have been performing exceptionally well.
4. Can the Philadelphia 76ers stage a comeback?
While the odds are stacked against them, it’s still possible for the 76ers to stage a comeback. The team will need to rally, make necessary adjustments, and potentially benefit from Joel Embiid’s return.
5. Who has stepped up in the absence of Joel Embiid for the 76ers?
Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey have been the standout performers for the 76ers in the first two games. They have taken on the scoring load and provided a spark for the team.