Sixers’ Joel Embiid played through tight back in win over Pacers
Joel Embiid proved that he is willing to do everything for the Philadelphia 76ers, as the superstar center played through a bad back during their showdown with Eastern Conference rivals Indiana Pacers.
Embiid scored 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead the 76ers to a 120-96 win over the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night. After the game, the 24-year-old center revealed that he has an ailing back, but he opted to play through it, knowing the importance of their game against Indiana.
The 76ers and the Pacers are currently locked in a tight race for one of the top four spots in the Eastern Conference. Finishing in the top four in the East would give them home court advantage at least in the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs. The two teams also split their first two games, making Wednesday’s match more intriguing.
“I’m a warrior and I wouldn’t let my teammates down,” Embiid said via Serena Winters of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I felt that we needed this game for home court advantage, so I knew I had to play to give us a better chance to win.”
Even with a bad back, Embiid actually almost finished with a triple-double, as he went two assists shy of reaching the feat. The superstar center also made his presence felt on the defensive end of the floor, as he tallied three blocks and a steal in 35 minutes of action.
Embiid also got a lot of help, as Jimmy Butler finished with 27 points on top of eight assists and five rebounds. JJ Redick ended up with 20 points and five rebounds, while Ben Simmons and Mike Muscala chipped in 11 points apiece for Philadelphia, who improved to 30-16, and are now in a virtual tie with the Pacers for the third spot in the East.