The Philadelphia 76ers have won two straight games after a tight loss in their season opener thanks to a monster outing from Joel Embiid, but the reigning Most Valuable Player nearly did not suit up for this contest — much to the chagrin of fans across the league.
Before last night’s home opener against the Portland Trail Blazers, the 76ers listed Embiid as questionable to play due to rest. Naturally, given that it was just the third game of the season, fans called him and the team out for seemingly punting despite the lack of an injury on the center’s part.
76ers star Joel Embiid criticized for nearly resting early in the season
The MVP’s questionable status went on for a few hours, but he nevertheless starred in the 76ers’ first game in the Wells Fargo Center this season. Along with Tyrese Maxey, Embiid turned in his best game yet, finishing the night with 35 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, six blocks, and a couple of steals in just 29 minutes to lead Philadelphia to its second straight dub to begin the campaign.
It remains to be seen whether or not Embiid was truly on deck for a night off on the second leg of a back-to-back, but Nick Nurse still allotted him his regular serving of minutes before the lead was too ample that he had to take him out.
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Meanwhile, speaking of rest, James Harden once again missed this game, but rejoined the team on the bench as a spectator. He is expected to practice on Tuesday with the hope that he can make his season debut in the 76ers’ matchup with the Raptors at home.
If all goes well, Philadelphia will finally be fully armed and the coaching staff can get a look on how Harden still fits into the equation with a trade unlikely for now.