The Philadelphia 76ers wrapped up their two-game road trip in New York on Tuesday night. As they faced the New York Knicks for the first time this season, Joel Embiid and the Sixers anticipated a tough and physical matchup.
At first, it was unclear if Embiid was going to play or not. As the star center has been dealing with knee soreness for roughly about a week now, he was listed as questionable going into Tuesday's matchup.
After participating in the team's morning shootaround and pregame warmups, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers deemed Embiid as good to go for Tuesday night's matchup. Sure enough, the All-Star was inserted into the starting lineup.
In hindsight, perhaps the Sixers should've sat their star center. In 30 minutes of action on Tuesday, Embiid struggled as he got up just seven shots, two of which went in. It wasn't until the third quarter when Embiid made his first bucket from the field, and he didn't make or take a single shot in the four minutes he played in the fourth quarter.
Was his knee an issue on Tuesday? Embiid doesn't want to use that card. "It's not an excuse, but I don't think I've played like this to start the season or any stretch in my career, so it's not an excuse," he said. "I'm gonna keep pushing and hope for the best."
The soreness in Embiid's knee is more than likely holding him back from getting off to an MVP-caliber start this year. However, Embiid seems to believe there is more contributing to his lukewarm start to the year, and he's trying to figure it out.
"I really gotta watch the film," Embiid added. "I texted my trainer right after the game. I told him I was like, other than the other thing going on. I asked him if I was too passive or if I was just not getting the ball. I gotta go watch the film and see what's going on."
Embiid admitted that his mentality of trying to be a "point center" might've caused him to start the season off slightly passive as he's trying to get his teammates going. But as he feels frustrated after a 2-2 start and scoring just 14 points in a rivalry matchup on the road, Embiid is confident his slow start to the season won't last long.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.