The Philadelphia 76ers got the wind knocked out of their sail on Friday as they succumbed to the Miami Heat in a lopsided 129-101 blowout. Sixers head coach Doc Rivers admitted after the game that this wasn't a typical contest for his squad as they now have their eyes set on the playoffs. For his part, however, Joel Embiid was having none of it.
For starters, Rivers explained why this was a challenging situation to be in for the Sixers:
“We just didn't come to play tonight. We didn't have great energy,” Doc said, via Sixers beat reporter Sam DiGiovanni of ClutchPoints. “Very difficult game to have energy, honestly. It was an exercise tonight. … We wanted guys to burn a couple minutes and then get them off the floor.”
The Sixers are already locked in on the No. 3 seed in the East, and they pretty much had nothing else to play for on Thursday. Doc Rivers knew this coming in, which is why he wanted to limit his stars' playing time against Miami. That obviously backfired for the Sixers, who just got outplayed by the Heat on this occasion.
Embiid isn't making any excuses, though. For the Philly superstar, a loss is still a loss regardless of what the situation might be:
“I mean, that's not an excuse,” Embiid said. “If you're playing you gotta try to play hard and still win the game. I thought tonight, obviously, they made a lot of shots and we didn't.”
For what it's worth, Embiid has already been ruled out for Friday's matchup against the Atlanta Hawks for rest purposes. The Sixers have one final game to close out the regular season — a matchup against the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday — which at this point, is looking like a preview of a first-round playoff matchup in the East.