Game Preview | Embiid Sets Sights on First Back-to-Back
For all of the milestones that Joel Embiid has crossed off from a load management standpoint since the start of his career, there’s still one significant box left for him and the 76ers to check.
Over the past season and a half, parameters on his playing time have gradually loosened; he’s participated in games with not just one, but multiple overtime periods; and he’s been increasingly integrated into practices and shootarounds, in ways typical for most players.
Now, as the Sixers get ready to visit the Indiana Pacers Saturday for another key Eastern Conference tilt (7:00 PM EST; NBC Sports Philadelphia, 97.5 FM The Fanatic / Sixers Radio Network), all signs point to the big man completing his first back-to-back-set as a pro.
At least that sounded like it was the plan in the immediate aftermath of Friday’s 103-97 home victory over the Miami Heat.
”Oh yeah,” was Brett Brown’s response, when asked during Friday’s post-game press conference if Embiid was still on track to give it a go against Indiana. “I’m excited to have Joel in his first back-to-back.”
For his own part, Embiid, who posted 17 points and 11 rebounds in 31 minutes versus Miami, sounded eager for Saturday’s assignment, too.
“I feel like playing another game right now,” he joked.
”I feel like I’ve been ready,” the big man then continued. “Got the opportunity to do it, so now I’m going to feel like an NBA player.”
Since putting on a Sixers uniform for the first time last October, Embiid has made abundantly clear the incredible value he brings to the floor. Last season, his on-court net rating was a positive 3.2 point-differential per 100 possessions. This season, that figure has exploded to a whopping 9.7.
All but two of the Sixers’ 25 wins this year have come in games Embiid has played, and his elite level of production was validated last month by his selection to the All-Star Game.
For a team making no bones about its aspirations to reach the post-season, Embiid, plain and simple, is a vital, difference-making component. He’s ready to embrace this next step, and make the Sixers more whole.
“Everybody has been healthy,” said Embiid, who Brown has praised for his willingness to cooperate with the load management blueprint created by Dr. Daniel Medina and the rest of the Sixers’ medical staff. “I’ve been healthy, so I think that’s another step toward our goal. That’s going to help us a lot.”