Sixers’ Joel Embiid Provides Update on Injured Wrist, Details Game-Winning Play

Joel Embiid

Getty Joel Embiid grabs at his wrist after injuring it following a hard dunk in Game 3 of the Raptors-Sixers playoff series.

Joel Embiid walked into his post-game press conference in Toronto casually late. That was fair considering the Sixers’ big man had just hit a miraculous shot in overtime to win the game. But it was what he was wearing that caused mild panic among the masses. Embiid had a soft brace on his right wrist and thumb area.

The All-Star center appeared to hurt it coming down from a hard dunk over Pascal Siakam around the 5:53 mark of the third quarter. He grabbed at his wrist and flexed it throughout the fourth quarter and overtime.

Following the Sixers’ 104-101 victory in Game 3 — one that put them one win away from a series sweep over the Raptors — Embiid was quickly quizzed about the injury. The 7-footer told reporters he was feeling fine and not worried about it. Everyone wanted to know how the injury happened, but Embiid wasn’t sure.

“I don’t know exactly what happened but I just started feeling pain,” Embiid said. “Think I might have twisted it so I’ll see what’s going on tomorrow [Thursday].”

When asked if there was any chance he would miss Game 4 on Saturday, Embiid said: “No, no chance. No.”

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Revenge on Toronto Not on Embiid’s Mind

Much has been made about Embiid exorcising the demons from that 2019 playoff loss to Toronto in Game 7. Remember, the Sixers star left the court crying after the loss and the game often gets used as evidence that the Process failed.

Was Embiid channeling Kawhi Leonard when he knocked down that game-ending, fadeaway triple on Wednesday night? Not at all. That was three years ago. Those tears have dried up.

“Honestly, I really haven’t thought about what happened three years ago,” Embiid said. “Obviously, the shot makes me feel good about what kind of happened but during this whole series, but I really haven’t thought about coming in here and trying to get my revenge. I think I’m more focused about trying to win the whole thing, one game at a time, and do whatever is necessary to get us there.”

Still, it was a bit ironic to see Embiid hit a dagger triple from the same end of the court where Leonard broke his heart. Philadelphia has yet to get out of the second round of the playoffs during Embiid’s tenure, something the big man is aiming to change this year.

“I knew definitely coming into Toronto I was definitely going to be the bad guy for quite some time,” Embiid said, “so I just wanted to come out and let the game come to me but it felt great but the job is not done. We gotta get one more.”

Miracle Shot: Just Like Doc Drew It Up

Doc Rivers takes a ton of heat in Philly for his failure to dial-up game-winning plays coming out of timeouts, among other knocks on his coaching style. So let’s give the man some much-deserved credit for calling the perfect play with 0.7 seconds left in overtime in Game 3. It was actually a play the Sixers had worked on in practice and tried (unsuccessfully) in a previous game.

“That’s one of my favorite spots and I just missed from right there to end the game,” Embiid said. “Great play call, Tobias [Harris] set an amazing screen, Danny [Green] had a great pass, so all I had to do was really to finish it and I’m glad I did it.”

Not only that, Rivers called a crucial timeout with 2.6 seconds which gave the Sixers a second crack at hitting the game-winner. Embiid had been trapped on the previous play and fired a wild shot that missed everything as time expired. There would have been a second overtime if not for Rivers’ timeout.

“He [Rivers] just drew it up, but we worked on it, we’ve run it in the past,” Embiid said. “If you remember the turnover that I actually had against Minnesota when I didn’t pass the ball when I was double-teamed on that, that was the same play call we just ran so glad it worked out this time.”

The Sixers lost 121-120 in double overtime to Minnesota on November 27. It was Embiid’s first game back from a battle with COVID-19. Anthony Edwards blocked a potential game-winning 3-pointer with 1.0 seconds left in the second overtime.

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