This is the last thing the Philadelphia 76ers needed.
Star center Joel Embiid has been ruled out for Game 3 due to a knee injury for the 76ers' critical tilt game against the Brooklyn Nets.
76ers star Joel Embiid (knee) is out for Game 3 against the Nets in Brooklyn.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 18, 2019
Embiid has played a massive role for the Sixers all year, and not much about that changed during the first two games of the team's series with the Nets. So far, he's averaged 22.5 points and 11.5 rebounds in just 22.5 minutes-played-per-game.
The Sixers already find themselves a bit on their heels having lost their Game 1 matchup against the Nets by a score of 111-102.
Avoiding a 2-1 series deficit will be made significantly more difficult Thursday night without Embiid's presence on the court.
Nets vs. 76ers | Game 3 | Series Tied 1-1— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) April 18, 2019
-Nets’ 1st home playoff game since 2015
-Simmons dropped a triple-double in Game 2
-Embiid got hit with a flagrant-1 foul for elbowing Allen
"Very, very excited. I know the Barclays Center is going to be jumping in there.” - D-Lo pic.twitter.com/9ymCeGNDAg
Fortunately for both teams, though, tempers are less likely to flare without Embiid antagonizing the Nets at almost every turn.
Taking advantage of this opportunity will be critical if the Nets want to keep their playoff hopes alive. While the Nets are certainly no pushovers, the Sixers are the better team, and capitalizing on Embiid's absence will be crucial for them if they want to make a deep playoff run.