NBA

Joel Embiid to return from injury for Game 3 against Miami Heat

By Sports Desk May 06, 2022

Philadelphia 76ers superstar Joel Embiid will return from injury for Game 3 against the Miami Heat.

Embiid had been sidelined since a stray Pascal Siakam elbow in the last game of Philadelphia's first-round series against the Toronto Raptors fractured his orbital bone, meaning he will play in a protective mask.

He averaged a career-high 30.6 points per game this season along with 11.7 rebounds and a career-high 4.2 assists, and shot over 50 per cent from the field against the Raptors.

The 76ers had a record of 6-8 in the 14 regular season contests Embiid missed, and also dropped the first two games of their current series against Miami as he did not travel with the team for the Heat's opening home fixtures.

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  • Heat's Erik Spoelstra looking forward to 'throwback' Eastern Conference Finals Heat's Erik Spoelstra looking forward to 'throwback' Eastern Conference Finals

    Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said the Eastern Conference Finals will be an old-school defensive slugfest, and that he feels the best two teams made it.

    The Heat needed six games to triumph over the Philadelphia 76ers, while the Boston Celtics came back from 3-2 down against the Milwaukee Bucks to get the job done in Game 7.

    As a reward for getting their series out of the way early, the Heat will have five days of rest before Tuesday's Game 1, while the Celtics have just one proper rest day between series.

    Speaking to the media after Monday's practice, Spoelstra said it is shaping up as a series that will warm the heart of Heat president Pat Riley.

    "Pat's [Riley] probably is going to enjoy this," he said. "This is like a throwback series. 

    "If both teams are really on top of their games, this should be a series where neither team is scoring 130 points. Both teams hang their hats on rock-solid team defense, and making multiple efforts and being disciplined to schemes. 

    "So it will be a lot of plays and things in the margins… really, we were the two best teams in the East most of the season and it's fitting that we're moving into the conference finals.

    "Boston has played as well as anyone in the entire league once they got to 2022. It's not by accident. They're playing very strong basketball. They do it on both ends."

    Heat star Jimmy Butler was asked about his potential matchup against Jayson Tatum, and he had nothing but praise for the Celtics' best player.

    "He's one of the best in the game right now," he said. "As much attention as he draws on the offensive end – and then I think what's really impressive is the way that he's picked up his defensive intensity. 

    "You got to tip your hat to that and respect him, I think those are the guys that you want to go up against."

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