One man was keeping the Philadelphia 76ers in the hunt on Wednesday [AEDT] and for a few nervous minutes it looked like they were going to lose him.
After turning it over in the post, Joel Embiid went to the ground holding his right leg in the third quarter against the Toronto Raptors.
He was able to walk off before limping towards the locker room.
Embiid had only just returned after missing the last game with back tightness and the Sixers lost that one to the Cleveland Cavaliers 118-94.
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Embiid make a quick recovery though, coming back out of the locker room to re-join the game with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
It was a fortunate break for the Sixers given how important he had been in the first half against Toronto.
In the off-season, Philadelphia president of basketball operations Daryl Morey made some key changes to address one of the Sixers’ biggest issues.
Halfway into their game against the Toronto Raptors though, it looked like not everything was going to plan with the Sixers trailing 56-48 – but it could been far worse.
Morey brought Seth Curry and Danny Green over to give the Sixers two genuine threats from beyond the arc and open up space for Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid to roam.
So far though, Green is shooting at 18.2 per cent from beyond the arc compared to 36.7 per cent while at the Lakers in the 2019-20 regular season.
Curry is shooting 42.9 per cent of 3s – albeit only a slight decline on his 45.2 per cent while with the Dallas Mavericks last season.
It may have simply been an off night for him but even Curry had just one successful 3 from four attempts against the Raptors.
He was also shooting 1-of-7 from the field and those two were not alone.
The entire team was shooting just 27.5 per cent from the field and 21.1 per cent of 3s.
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Tobias Harris was looking the best hope early on draining shots with accuracy while Embiid was doing it all himself with 18 points and six rebounds while going 11-from-11 from the line.
His ability to draw fouls was one of the only elements keeping the Sixers in the game after they were crushed by Cleveland without Embiid in their most recent outing.
Philly were attempt plenty of shots from deep but just could not land any of them and the reaction online was swift.
BUCKS’ ULTIMATE REVENGE
Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks were breaking all kinds of records as they exacted revenge on the Miami Heat.
The Heat knocked the Bucks out of the playoffs last season on their way to a Finals showdown with the Los Angeles.
But the top seed in the East fell victim to Miami and were devastating as they made them pay on Wednesday.
The Bucks stormed out to a 83-51 lead by halftime.
It came off the back of a 46-point opening quarter – the third most in their franchise history and most on the road.
It was also the second-most conceded by Miami and most at home in the first 12 minutes of a game.
Philadelphia could get some tips from Milwaukee when it comes to shooting from deep with the Bucks hitting a franchise-record 16 3s in the first half.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was getting plenty of help too – he had just seven points compared to Milwaukee’s other four starters who all hit double figures by halftime.
Khris Middleton in particular impressed with 20 points while Jrue Holiday had six assists.
Antetokounmpo did have five assists and four defensive rebounds though in a strong display.