Embiid returned from a facial injury and made his playoff debut in Philadelphia's 128-108 game-three win over the Heat in Miami on Thursday. I am going to keep trusting coach's decision making. "But when we lost, I was like, "No". I like the fact we did that. "We aren't here to make friends".
Unlike the disfigured masked man in the opera, Embiid is no phantom, openly declaring that he wants to be a "nightmare" for the Miami Heat.
At halftime of Game 2, there was even more reason to wonder, as the Sixers had just been outscored 34-13 in a physical second quarter that seemed to epitomize playoff basketball.
Kevin Durant scored 26 points as the Golden State Warriors beat San Antonio 110-97 to take a 3-0 lead over the Spurs who were playing with heavy hearts after the death of Gregg Popovich's wife. But I hate sitting out. And for the Philadelphia 76ers, his return comes at a ideal time. "I love attacking. I'm glad they let me play". They were legitimate questions, given an unprecedentedly youthful core that features three first or second-year players among the starting five. Hassan Whiteside was mired in foul trouble and ineffective, finishing the night 1-for-1 from the field for five points. What bothered Embiid was the mask. "I mean, that's what he wants so I've just got to trust it". "There's a lot of stuff I can do".
The first mask was damaged by Kelly Olynyk's arm with 7 minutes, 56 seconds left in the second quarter.
Heat forward Winslow appeared to walk towards the mask and stamp on it before picking it up to try and break it in his hands.
"Yeah, I want to get more rebounds out there", he said.
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Said Winslow: "He kept throwing it on the ground".
I don't know. All I know is that Hasan Whiteside is definitely not the answer.
So, Simmons and Sixers shooting coach John Townsend (pictured below, left) chose to "get ahead of the story", to borrow an oft-used Brown phrase.
All three games between the hard-fighting clubs have, for the most part, been gritty, fierce scraps. It's good for the game. He played with a black face mask. It wasn't any other word but physical.
As the game wore on, so too did the physicality. "That example with Justise probably is as good as an example of just the mindset everybody had tonight".
Winslow said that seeing Embiid in the game made it "different".
Embiid acknowledged that the mask bothered him at times Thursday night.
"When he blocked me, I didn't really see him", Embiid said. "I'll spend some time working that out in the next day in a half". "I'm just trying to play simple". In winning Game Two, the Heat held Philly to "only" 103.