The Philadelphia 76ers managed to steal Game 1 in Boston. The Sixers will have an MVP-sized boost for Game 2 as Joel Embiid declared his intent to play against the Celtics.
Embiid reportedly made the announcement ala Michael Jordan after winning the 2022-23 Most Valuable Player award, according to NBA insider Shams Charania.
After winning MVP last night, during a quick 76ers celebration, Joel Embiid turned to the team and said: “I’m back.”
Embiid is indeed on track to return tonight in Game 2 vs. Celtics barring setbacks, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 3, 2023
With Joel Embiid in tow, James Harden probably won’t need to score 45 points this time around for the Sixers to strike for a second upset win. Fans probably won’t mind if he decides to do it again, though.
Embiid, who’s spoken up in the past about how much the MVP award matters to him, is clearly motivated to show the world why he was deserving of said award.
Fresh off winning his first MVP award last night, Joel Embiid is out here getting up shots ahead of shootaround this morning before Game 2. pic.twitter.com/4rs9ZPyBXb
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) May 3, 2023
The Sixers are pretty much playing with house money in Game 2 given that they already stole homecourt advantage. Many assumed that edge gives them leeway to rest Joel Embiid at least one more game as her continues to nurse his knee injury.
But on the flip side, playing Embiid and going for the kill in Game 2 puts the pressure on the Celtics to perform. Falling 0-2 before the series heads to Philadelphia would be a mighty large hole for the defending Eastern Conference champions to climb out of.
Embiid has historically had his trouble with the Celtics in the playoffs, having been eliminated by Boston twice across his five playoff appearances thus far. He holds a 1-8 record against them including a 4-0 sweep during the 2020 NBA Playoffs. Is this the year he gets the leprechaun off his back?
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