The Philadelphia 76ers will be looking for their league-best 28th victory in 30 home games when they host the New York Knicks on Thursday.
The Sixers are 27-2 at home but just 9-21 on the road following a 108-94 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday. More troubling is that Joel Embiid left late in the first quarter and didn’t return. The team announced he has a sprained shoulder.
Embiid told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging test on Thursday.
“I’m really sort of a prisoner to the medical people’s information,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said of Embiid’s status. “I haven’t checked in. I just left the team. I’m unsure, I really am unsure.”
Philadelphia is already trying to make its playoff push without All-Star Ben Simmons, who will miss his third consecutive game on Thursday. Simmons, who has nerve impingement in his lower back, could be sidelined for an extended period.
Embiid poured in a career-high 49 points to go along with 14 rebounds without Simmons in Monday’s win over the Atlanta Hawks.
“Joel knows it more than I can say it,” Brown said when asked about Embiid being more aggressive. “We talked a little bit about it. With the sort of news of Ben, and him not being there, it’s clear he’s got to come out and he’s got to play like he did (Monday) for the most part.”
Other key players such as Tobias Harris will also be counted on more heavily with the roster being shuffled.
“We kind of have been adapting to different lineups, different guys, but everybody stays ready and everybody has a respect for one another and in each other’s games,” Harris said. “It’s a tribute to everybody really staying right, staying ready throughout this whole season, because any time you could be called on, especially with the way the NBA is.”
The Knicks are coming off a 107-101 loss on the road to the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday despite 18 points from Julius Randle and 17 from Bobby Portis’ 17. Alonzo Trier scored 15 points, and Mitchell Robinson had 12 points and 16 rebounds.
The Knicks sport an identical road record as the Sixers at 9-21, although they’re just 17-41 heading into Philadelphia.
New York did manage 57 points off its bench to stay close to the Hornets.
“We just try to go out there and try to bring us back,” Portis said. “We have one job, like always: Come in and just try to build the game, try to bring energy, and that’s our one job.”
The Knicks are expected to be without Frank Ntilikina again with a sore groin. Ntilikina missed 32 of the final 34 games last season with a similar injury.
This would be his sixth game missed this season with this injury.
“It’s the same, but it’s not the same thing,” Ntilikina told the New York Post. “An injury like that which took me off the court for the rest of the season last year takes time, especially a young body, to recover from it. Some specialists say it takes the same amount of time for when you’re injured to be fully healed.
“It’s a long season. My body has to fully grow, and I have to stay on top of it.”
–Field Level Media