One of the biggest problems that’s been troubling the Philadelphia 76ers for a while now has been keeping Joel Embiid healthy and on the floor for a majority of the season. So far, the reigning MVP has only missed three out of 19 games, but in those three games came three losses where the team would simply get exposed.
The first loss without Embiid came from Minnesota. Anthony Edwards constantly attacked the paint with little resistance, and they couldn’t find a way to contain Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns, who’d each grab 11 rebounds. Philly also struggled to find a consistent rhythm offensively, as they managed to rack up seven turnovers in just the first frame.
The second loss occurred against a surging New Orleans Pelicans squad, with Embiid being a late scratch due to an illness. Similarly to the Timberwolves game, Zion Williamson overwhelmed the 76ers in the paint where Embiid is typically camped. He made all but one of his 12 shots, scoring 33 points in the process.
And the third came in Boston against the Celtics with Embiid — and Tyrese Maxey — out due to the same reason. Although being the most shorthanded in this game, it would ironically end up being the tightest out of the three.
Solid performances from both De’Anthony Melton and Patrick Beverley kept Philly in the fight throughout the whole game. Even though Jayson Tatum managed to get ejected at the end of the third quarter, a few timely shots from Boston and a couple rough calls for Philly and the Celtics would eventually come out on top.
Embiid should be back tonight against Washington, but with the 76ers trying to remain atop the Eastern Conference, which lineups has Nick Nurse employed that gave them the best winning chance when shorthanded?