Czerwonka: Finally, Embiid returns

Embiid return graphic. - Multimedia Editor / Drew Peltzman

Just as I mentioned a few months ago, on Jan. 30, the Philadelphia 76ers took a loss to the Golden State Warriors, as the final score was 119-107. But the loss wasn’t the only devastating thing in that game.

In the very final minutes of the game, Joel Embiid lost control of the ball and fell to the ground. In the next few seconds, when trying to grab the ball from Embiid, Warriors’ 22-year-old power forward Jonathan Kuminga, fell right on Embiid’s knee, the same one that hindered Embiid all season.

As Sixers fans saw this unfold, it felt that with almost 100% certainty, the season was over. The team thought it through and eventually determined that he needed surgery, and it was uncertain if last year’s MVP would return for the season.

But as time progressed, it became possible for Embiid to return around the end of the season. However, the rest of the team was going to have to stand their ground and did so, acquiring players at the deadline such as Buddy Hield and Cameron Payne, and even going into the buyout market and getting veteran and hometown guard Kyle Lowry.

But no one can deny that the team did not stand their ground, as without Embiid, the team had an 11-18 record and fell to the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference in the two-month span. In the total amount of games Embiid has missed this season, the 76ers are 14-27. With Embiid, their record was 28-8. 

But last Tuesday, Joel Embiid officially came back when the team desperately needed him, as they faced off against one of the best teams in the West, the Oklahoma City Thunder. 

In the game, Embiid put up 24 points, along with six rebounds, and collected seven assists in 30 minutes. The Sixers also got the win over the Thunder. 

The Sixers also went up against the Spurs, however, Embiid rested that day, but thanks to Tyrese Maxey’s 50 bomb, as well as Kelly Oubre’s 26 points the team was able to get the win after going into double overtime. 

The very next game was practically a must-win game for the Sixers. They faced the Heat, who at the time were behind them in the standings. But Embiid came through with 29 points, four rebounds and three assists in 32 minutes in a nail-biter of a game, helping the team grab a crucial win. 

Now, the seed that the Sixers will ultimately end at, depends on the last few games they have remaining in the regular season. As it stands, the Sixers are in the 7th seed, and if they remain there, the Sixers will be in the Play-In Tournament. But they also have the easiest remaining schedule and have an outside chance to secure the sixth seed, which comes with major benefits. The main reason is getting the week off and getting as much rest as possible. 

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