NBA

'No chance' Embiid misses Game 4 as he relishes role of 'bad guy' in Raptors series

By Sports Desk April 21, 2022

Joel Embiid suffered a thumb injury as he led the Philadelphia 76ers to a road win at the Toronto Raptors but is confident it will not impact him in Game 4.

The 76ers took a 3-0 lead in the first-round series with Wednesday's 104-101 overtime victory, which was sealed by Embiid's turnaround three-pointer with 0.8 seconds remaining.

This two-game road trip was expected to be tricky for the 76ers, who are missing Matisse Thybulle, as he is not fully vaccinated.

But the Raptors have been without star rookie Scottie Barnes and now face the prospect of being swept when the series continues on Saturday.

Embiid is certainly hoping that will be the case, confirming he will again have a big role to play despite emerging after Game 3 with his right thumb in a brace.

"I think I might have twisted it, so we are going to see what's going on tomorrow," Embiid said before being asked if he would be kept on the sideline.

"No," he replied. "No chance, no."

As an MVP candidate and the biggest threat to the Raptors, Embiid was the centre of attention for the Scotiabank Arena crowd.

The 76ers center was jeered throughout in his first playoff game in Canada since an awful six-for-18 shooting performance in Game 7 of the 2019 Eastern Conference semi-finals, when it was Kawhi Leonard's turn to score a dramatic winner for the Raptors.

But Embiid said: "It felt great. Obviously we know what happened a couple of years ago. It just felt great.

"I just knew that coming in here tonight, it was going to be a tough place. Obviously, it's always a tough place to play, especially in the playoffs. They've got great fans, they're loud.

"I know coming into Toronto I was definitely going to be the bad guy for quite some time. So I just wanted to come out and let the game come to me. It felt great, but the job is not done."

The 21 points Embiid scored in Game 7 three years ago were actually his most on the road in that series, averaging just 15.5 per cent and 34.0 per cent shooting in playoff games at Scotiabank Arena prior to Wednesday's visit.

The 28-year-old finished with 33 points, on 12-for-20 shooting, and 13 rebounds this time but insisted "revenge" was not on his mind.

"It's just the first round to me," Embiid said. "Honestly, I haven't really thought about what happened three years ago.

"Obviously, the shot makes me feel good about what kind of happened. But during this whole series, I haven't really 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 trying to do whatever's necessary to get us there."

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