After a hard-fought loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Philadelphia 76ers continue their push to lock in the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. With the 2019 NBA Playoffs on the horizon, the Sixers still have work left to do, but the odds are in their favor. Unfortunately, they may be a bit shorthanded on Saturday against the Chicago Bulls.
After back-to-back losses with All-Star center Joel Embiid out of the lineup, he returned against the Bucks, but Jimmy Butler was ruled out for that game. Embiid posted a monster stat line with 34 points, 13 rebounds, 13 assists, and three blocks in the loss. With three games remaining and the Sixers holding a slight edge for the three-seed, Embiid could be needed to help pick up one or two more wins.
According to PlayoffStatus.com, the Sixers have a 92 percent chance of holding onto the No. 3 spot. They would clinch it with a win over the Bulls and the Boston Celtics losing to the Orlando Magic on Sunday.
We’re going to take a look at the latest on Embiid’s status against the Bulls, as well as the team’s starting lineup and roster.
Joel Embiid’s Injury Status, Sixers Injury Report
Philly could be down a few players on Saturday, as both James Ennis (right quad) and Furkan Korkmaz (knee surgery) have been ruled out. Embiid (left knee soreness), along with Butler (back tightness) are listed as questionable on the league’s official injury report.
As Serena Winters of NBC Sports Philadelphia reported, both Embiid and Butler did not participate in shootaround. Along with those two, Ben Simmons, JJ Redick, Tobias Harris and Mike Scott did not attend shootaround but are all available to play.
Embiid and Butler have been questionable for each of the most recent games, so their statuses remain a major question mark. The positive news is that the team had a day off before this game and also have both Sunday and Monday off before their next game.
Sixers Roster & Starting Lineup vs. Bulls
*Notates expected starter
UPDATE: Jimmy Butler has been ruled out, Joel Embiid will play.
C: Joel Embiid*, Boban Marjanovic, Greg Monroe, Amir Johnson
PF: Tobias Harris*, Jonah Bolden
SF: Mike Scott*, Jonathon Simmons
SG: JJ Redick*, Shake Milton, Zhaire Smith, Haywood Highsmith
PG: Ben Simmons*, T.J. McConnell
If Butler were to sit again, there’s a good chance the Sixers could opt to go with the same starting five as last game. They shifted Harris to small forward and started Scott at power forward. Scott had a strong showing over 36 minutes, scoring 22 points with three rebounds while knocking down 6-of-8 from beyond the arc.
It’ll be interesting to see what direction the team goes if Embiid is out, as Jonah Bolden has typically started in his place. The recent signing of Greg Monroe likely won’t lead to him starting, but he should see a few more minutes than originally expected. Regardless, Sixers coach Brett Brown will likely attempt to get Monroe in the mix even if Embiid plays, but his minutes are worth monitoring.