After taking a tumble with 3:18 left in the second quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks, JJ Redick came up grabbing his elbow. In a hilarious move, teammate Joel Embiid rushed over to console the ailing Redick and decided to give him a kiss on his injured elbow.
Thankfully Redick would be okay and wouldn’t need to come out of the Philadelphia 76ers Eastern Conference showdown with the Milwaukee Bucks. In fact, he would go on to immediately sink both of the free throws he earned off his tumble and cut the Milwaukee lead to one.
WATCH: Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid Kisses JJ Redick’s Elbow
Despite trailing early on, the Philadephia 76ers would mount a comeback following Redick’s fall and would take a lead early in the third quarter. Redick, in particular, was on fire from behind the arc and his three-point shooting played a pivotal role in helping keep the 76ers in the game.
Heading into the matchup, the Milwaukee Bucks sat atop the Eastern Conference at 58-20 while the 76ers came in third in the East at 49-29. While the Bucks nearly have homecourt advantage locked up already, the Sixers are attempting to fend off the Boston Celtics and hang onto their current playoff position.
Philadelphia 76ers Playoff Outlook
Sitting in the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs heading into the matchup against the Bucks, the Sixers needed a win to help solidify avoiding playing the Bucks again until the conference finals. Still only 2.5 games ahead of Boston when the night began, the Sixers found themselves in an uncomfortable position. Mathematically eliminated from improving their position, the Sixers still can’t afford to take a night off yet and must fend off an extremely talented Celtics team.
The biggest question for the Sixers heading into the playoffs is how they plan to integrate their new pieces into the mix after last season’s implosion. Against the Celtics, the blueprint to stop the Sixers was established as Aron Baynes would simply hustle back in transition and wait for Simmons at the free throw line with his arms spread wide. This forced Simmons to slow down the game and resulted in some truly terrible shooting performances from the young star.
With the addition of Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler, the Sixers have a much more versatile team capable of making the necessary adjustments to beat teams in a seven-game series. With the pieces in place, the pressure is on head coach Brett Brown to find out how to properly utilize and integrate them as needed.
For as solid as the Sixers have been since acquiring their new stars, they have struggled to get consistently strong performances from Butler while Harris has gone cold since his scorching hot arrival. With so many mouths to feed and no offseason to figure things out, it makes sense that the Sixers don’t look like a cohesive team at times. In a playoff series against elite competition, the Sixers will need both Butler and Harris to be firing on all cylinders despite being limited to third and fourth option duties.