Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Embiid shines in playoff debut, Blazers on the brink




Embiid shines in playoff debut, Blazers on the brink

Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers celebrates after hitting a 3-pointer in the third quarter against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on Thursday in Miami, Florida. AFP
Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers celebrates after hitting a 3-pointer in the third quarter against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on Thursday in Miami, Florida. AFP

Embiid shines in playoff debut, Blazers on the brink

Joel Embiid scored 23 points in his postseason debut as the Philadelphia 76ers crushed the Miami Heat 128-108 to grab a 2-1 lead in their first round playoff series.

Embiid, who wore a mask to protect a broken bone in his face, returned from a 10-game absence and helped seal the victory by scoring seven straight points for the Sixers down the stretch.

Dario Saric and Marco Belinelli combined to score 42 points, while Ben Simmons finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for Philadelphia in front of a crowd of 19,800 at Miami’s American Airlines Arena.

“It was annoying,” Embiid said of the black carbon fibre mask. “But that was the only way I could play in this game, if I wore the mask and protected my face with goggles. I had to work through it and I did.”

Game 4 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series is on Saturday in Miami.

Embiid wasn’t even supposed to play on Thursday. Many thought he would be out of the line-up longer due to the severity of the injury. He had to get a doctor’s clearance from the team and league approval for the mask and goggle combination that sometimes slipped off his face.

“I am just so proud of what he did,” said Philadelphia coach Brett Brown.

The 76ers won for the 18th time in their last 19 games and reclaimed home-court advantage in the series.

Goran Dragic scored 23 points, Justise Winslow had 19 and Josh Richardson scored 14 in the loss.

In New Orleans, Nikola Mirotic scored a career playoff-best 30 points as the Pelicans beat the Portland Trail Blazers 119-102 to take a stranglehold 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven series.

“I never thought I’d score 30 or something like that,” Mirotic said. “I’m just trying to play simple. If I have a shot, take a shot, so I need to give credit to my teammates.”

Anthony Davis had 28 points and 11 rebounds for New Orleans, who are hoping to reach the second round of the postseason for the first time since 2008.

They can achieve that goal with a win in Game 4 on Saturday.

Mirotic, acquired in a midseason trade after DeMarcus Cousins’s season-ending injury, made 12 of 15 shots. He drained 3-pointers, finished off fast-break layups and made clutch dunks.

Damian Lillard led Portland with 20 points but also missed nine of 14 shots. CJ McCollum scored 22 and Al-Farouq Aminu added 21 in the loss.

MOST VIEWED

  • All inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

    Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1. Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as

  • Flights from Indonesia, Malaysia cancelled

    A Ministry of Health official has warned of the possibility of Covid-19 spreading through community transmission after the total infected cases in the Kingdom rose to 225. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told reporters on Saturday that the possibility of community transmission cannot be overlooked and that

  • Man in quarantine dies of ‘overdose’

    The Ministry of Health on Thursday said a Cambodian migrant worker who died while being isolated at a quarantine centre in Tbong Khmum province’s Kroch Chhmar district may have died from syncope or overdose of tablets. In a statement, the ministry said the 21-year-old

  • Ministry set to reopen 20 schools in August

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport will allow 20 high-safety-standards schools to reopen next month despite new cases of Covid-19 in the country. Ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha wrote in a Telegram message on Wednesday that the schools are in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang.