The Philadelphia 76ers appear to be moving in the right direction toward a reconciliation with Ben Simmons. Fresh off a productive meeting with their “mentally” unwell star, the team is committed to making things work. Joel Embiid made it a point of emphasis during his pre-game address to Sixers fans.
The All-Star center stood at center court at Wells Fargo Center and let the Philly faithful know Simmons was his teammate. He reminded everyone that the disgruntled point guard is “still our brother” in a plea that resonated with Sixers fans. All the pre-game hype seemed to fade into the background after the Sixers let a lengthy lead dissipate in the fourth quarter. Philadelphia staked a 20-6 lead early in the first quarter before the wheels fell off.
The Sixers lost 114-109 to a weakened Brooklyn Nets squad dealing with their own issues. Kyrie Irving refuses to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and sat this one out. Kevin Durant scored a game-high 29 points while LaMarcus Aldridge turned in a throwback performance with 23 points and five boards in 23 minutes.
Tobias Harris and Seth Curry paced the Sixers with 23 points apiece as Embiid fought through right knee soreness all night. He finished with 19 points and eight rebounds in 30 minutes, but clearly wasn’t himself. After the game, the focus was on Simmons and what his teammates thought about a possible reunion with the embattled star. Embiid guided the conversation.
“I thought it was good for the group. That’s the first step, that’s the start,” Embiid said, via Keith Pompey. “Hopefully, as I always say that’s the front office, hopefully they figure it out obviously for the team because this is a business and we’re trying to find ways to win. Like I always say, we are better with him so I wouldn’t mind playing with him and my teammates also wouldn’t mind because at the end of the day we are just trying to win.”
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Embiid’s Knee Injury Affected Him
Embiid showed up on the injury report as questionable with soreness in his right knee. The 7-footer started and showed no signs of any lingering effects early in the game, then he headed into the locker room prior to halftime.
Embiid played 30 minutes in total but he was struggling in the second half. Head coach Doc Rivers went with backup center Andre Drummond for long stretches late in the fourth quarter before finally re-inserting Embiid with about four minutes remaining. Why? Well, Embiid’s knee wasn’t right.
“I probably shouldn’t have played but it’s good to be out there with the guys,” Embiid said.
Embiid got hit in the knee cap in the season opener in New Orleans and stayed in the game. He doesn’t expect to miss any time, though.
“Yeah, it happened last game,” Embiid said. “I got kneed right into it so it’s been sore, extremely sore, but I think I’ll be fine.”
Tobias Harris Supports Teammate
Tobias Harris was one of the first Sixers players to come out and publicly voice his support for Simmons. He wasn’t backing down from that stance following the Sixers’ first loss of this young season. He wants the defensive-minded point guard back in the starting five.
“It was good to hear from him,” Harris told reporters, via Liberty Ballers. “I think it was well-needed for us as a group, and I think for him as well. To be able to communicate with the guys is well-needed. I think it’s a step in the right direction for bringing him back and getting acclimated along with what we’ve got going here.”