Embiid’s Return Brings Uncertainty for Game 2: Celtics vs. 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers managed to pull off a Game 1 upset over the Boston Celtics in their Eastern Conference semifinals matchup despite playing without Joel Embiid.[0] Despite being listed as doubtful for Game 2, the recently crowned NBA MVP, Embiid, is expected to play on Wednesday, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania, unless there is a setback.[1] Regardless of Embiid's presence, the Celtics are under pressure to secure a victory in this game, as they cannot afford to trail 0-2 before the series moves to Philadelphia.[1]

Paul Reed's role as backup center would become insignificant with Embiid's comeback.[2] Starting in place of Embiid, Reed recorded double-doubles in consecutive games, including the finale of the Nets series which Embiid also missed.[2] However, it’s hard to know what to expect from Embiid on his return from injury tonight.[3] It is difficult to envision that he will be fully recovered, considering he was deemed uncertain until he unexpectedly declared that he would participate as long as there were no additional complications.[3] The manifestation of this could take various forms, such as decreased mobility or restricted opportunities to play.[3] Regardless, we must lower our projected figures for the center.[3]

Embiid led the NBA in scoring during the season at 33.1 points per game and averaged 36.8 points and 11.8 rebounds in four games vs. Boston. Since the 1981-82 season, Embiid is the first NBA MVP to maintain a minimum of 50% shooting from the floor and an average of 30 points and 10 rebounds, a feat previously achieved only by Moses Malone. It is evident that sportsbooks have taken these factors into account, as Embiid's points proposition is significantly lower than his average in the regular season.[3] However, the adaptation made so far has not been severe enough.[3] If Embiid does play, it remains uncertain how much time he will spend on the court, whether the 76ers will utilize him significantly, or if Boston will come up with an improved defensive strategy now that they are up against the complete Philadelphia roster.[3]

The Celtics were looking at a pretty smooth path back to the Finals last week and now they’ve fumbled away home-court advantage in this series.[4] True to form, the Celtics have once again chosen a more challenging route.[4]

0. “Celtics-76ers Game 2 picks, odds for NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference semifinal” The Athletic, 3 May. 2023, https://theathletic.com/4481280/2023/05/03/celtics-76ers-picks-odds-nba-playoffs/

1. “Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Lineup Strategy for Celtics vs. 76ers Showdown on May 3” DraftKings Nation, 3 May. 2023, https://dknation.draftkings.com/fantasy-advice/2023/5/3/23709780/fantasy-basketball-picks-top-draftkings-nba-dfs-lineup-strategy-for-celtics-76ers-showdown-on-may-3

2. “76ers vs. Celtics Wednesday NBA playoffs Game 2 injury report, odds: Spread shifts three points with Joel Embiid now …” SportsLine, 3 May. 2023, https://www.sportsline.com/NBA/news/76ers-vs-celtics-wednesday-nba-playoffs-game-2-injury-report-odds-spread-shifts-three-points-with-joel-embiid-now-expected-to-play/

3. “76ers vs Celtics NBA Odds, Picks and Predictions – NBA Playoffs Game 2” Covers, 3 May. 2023, https://www.covers.com/nba/76ers-vs-celtics-game-2-picks-predictions-may-3-2023

4. “Forsberg: Celtics flirting with danger again after familiar Game 1 loss” NBC Sports Boston, 2 May. 2023, https://www.nbcsports.com/boston/celtics/celtics-continue-flirt-danger-bad-habits-persist-game-1-loss-sixers

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