Sixers Fail to Survive Without Joel Embiid on Wednesday vs. Cavaliers
Recently, the Philadelphia 76ers were issued a challenging test they weren't quite ready for. While the team is familiar with injuries and setbacks, they can generally count on their All-Star point guard Ben Simmons to be available if they take losses elsewhere on the roster.
Lately, that hasn't been the case. After suffering from a nerve impingement in his lower back, Sixers' point guard Ben Simmons has missed two of the last three games heading into Wednesday night's matchup against the Cavaliers.
With the star guard ruled out indefinitely, Sixers' head coach Brett Brown called for Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris to step up in Simmons' absence. Two nights ago, the duo showed promise as Embiid dropped 49 points, and Harris drained 25 in the victory over Atlanta.
During Wednesday's road game, however, the results were nowhere near similar. For starters, the injury hits kept on coming. Just eight minutes into the game, Joel Embiid was involved in a collision, which resulted in him getting sent to the locker room early to get his shoulder checked out as he was visibly in pain.
A few moments later, Embiid returned to the Sixers bench, but that lasted no longer than five minutes. Away he went to the locker room again before the Sixers eventually ruled out the big man for the remainder of the game. It was the first game the Sixers had to play without both Embiid and Simmons since the 2016-2017 season.
As expected, the results weren't pretty. The Sixers struggled to not only stop the Cavs, but they also had trouble producing against them as well, which called for a 108-94 loss for the Sixers. Aside from a solid 20-point effort from Shake Milton, the rest of the Sixers' starting lineup essentially brought nothing to the table.
Tobias Harris, Al Horford, and Josh Richardson combined for 30 total points. All three of them were outscored by Furkan Korkmaz and Alec Burks, who came off the bench. Wednesday's defeat marks the seventh-straight road loss for the Sixers, who haven't picked up a victory away from South Philly in over a month now. The 76ers will look to bounce back on Thursday with a home matchup against the New York Knicks.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_