Joel Embiid Returns From Injury To Lead 76ers To Dominant Victory Over Heat In Game 3

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The 76ers looked like a shell of the team many believed to be a Finals contender without star center Joel Embiid in the lineup.

But after Embiid made his return Friday after suffering a right facial fracture and mild concussion in the First Round, it was clear that this series, now 2-1 in favor of the Heat, is far from over. Embiid led the 76ers to a dominant 99-79 victory over the Heat in Game 3, while playing the entire game with a gray mask on his face.

While the numbers won’t jump off the page — 18 points and 11 rebounds on 5-of-12 from the field — his presence alone was enough to make a difference. Embiid also logged 36 minutes, a slight surprise given that he hadn’t played since Thursday of last week.

“His presence alone gives us energy. His dominance,” 76ers guard James Harden said after the game.

Embiid had already been playing through a torn ligament in his right thumb, which he suffered in Philadelphia’s Game 3 victory over Toronto, before suffering the new injury in Game 6. But the 2021-22 NBA MVP Award finalist wants to win. And that’s why he’s out there, gutting it out alongside his teammates.

“I want to win,” Embiid said after the game. “I feel we have a good shot at winning the NBA title.”

Beyond Embiid, Philadelphia finally found scoring outside of guards Harden and Tyrese Maxey and forward Tobias Harris. With Harris scoring just nine points, the veteran guard Danny Green stepped up with 21 points, all on 7-of-9 from downtown.

Embiid and the 76ers will look to even up the series on Mother’s Day on Sunday at 8:00 p.m. ET on TNT.

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Written by Nick Geddes

Nick Geddes is a 2021 graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. A life-long sports enthusiast, Nick shares a passion for sports writing and is proud to represent OutKick.

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