The Philadelphia 76ers are preparing for the eventuality of Joel Embiid being forced to sit out in Game 2 against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday due to injury. It puts the Sixers at a clear disadvantage without their best player on the floor, but at the same time, it also provides the squad with some extra motivation. Just ask PJ Tucker.
There’s no denying that the Sixers are a much different team without Embiid in the mix. However, as evidenced by their huge Game 1 win over the Celtics in Boston, it is also clear that this side can still ball even without their best player available. According to Tucker, the absence of Embiid actually provides the likes of James Harden and Tyrese Maxey with an opportunity to come up big for the Sixers:
“I think we take pride in playing without the big fella, as good as he is,” Tucker said, via Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I think it gives [others] an opportunity to step up and play. James can kind of do his thing. Tyrese [Maxey] is obviously really good. … Like everybody, literally, takes a little step up and [takes advantage of] that when he’s out. So it’s like a pride thing for us.”
This isn’t just exclusive to Harden and Maxey either. As Tucker said, the entire squad takes on a bigger sense of urgency without Embiid on the floor. This was evident in Game 1 with Harden, in particular, exploding for a career playoff-high 45 points to lead the Sixers to an unexpected victory at the TD Garden. Harden and the rest of the crew are now looking to do it all over again in Game 2 on Wednesday.
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