Joel Embiid comes back after injury concerns, nets 32 points as the Philadelphia 76ers defeat the Orlando Magic 125-113

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Philadelphia 76ers vs the Orlando Magic (Credits:

Joel Embiid scored 32 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and made seven assists despite a worrisome injury moment in the first half, leading the Philadelphia 76ers to a 125-113 victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday night in a crucial game for Eastern Conference playoff positions.

Tyrese Maxey contributed 28 points, while Kelly Oubre Jr. added 21 as Philadelphia (46-36) extended its winning streak to seven games.

The Eastern Conference standings are tight, with Orlando, Indiana, and Philadelphia all holding records of 46-35 after the Indiana Pacers fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-120 on Friday night. They currently occupy the fifth, sixth, and seventh positions, respectively.

Franz Wagner scored 24 points, Paolo Banchero added 22, and Jalen Suggs contributed 20 for Orlando (46-35), which has suffered three consecutive losses.

“We only need one win to secure our spot,” Wagner remarked. “We need to concentrate on the next game and secure that win.”

Orlando struggled in the opening quarter, falling behind 40-27 and facing an uphill battle for the remainder of the game. Although the Magic closed the gap to six points in the fourth quarter, they were unable to overcome the deficit.

Philadelphia 76ers vs the Orlando Magic

“We must start games better,” stated Orlando head coach Jamahl Mosley. “Allowing 40 points in the first quarter and trying to claw our way back is not a sustainable approach. We showed energy and effort in the latter part of the game, but conceding 40 points and slow starts make it difficult to catch up throughout the night.”

Embiid had a strong first half, scoring 21 points, grabbing nine rebounds, and making seven assists in just 17 minutes. It was his fifth game back after missing 29 games due to a left meniscus injury. However, toward the end of the first half, Embiid appeared to land awkwardly on his left knee after driving for a layup.

Despite the discomfort, Embiid continued to play until a timeout was called by Philadelphia head coach Nick Nurse. Embiid then headed straight to the Sixers’ locker room for evaluation.

“We had to keep playing and finish the half, which we did,” Maxey said. “We checked on him when we got back to the locker room, and thankfully, he was okay.”

Embiid returned to the court for the second half and immediately made an impact by sinking a 3-pointer on his first touch.

“They checked him at halftime, and there was no swelling or damage,” Nurse explained. “He wanted to give it a try in the second half, and he seemed fine.”

Embiid was not available for comment after the game, but Nurse mentioned that there would be a reassessment of his condition before the team’s practice on Saturday.

Maxey stepped up in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter, scoring 11 points while Embiid mostly watched from the sidelines.

“I just let him know that I could handle it,” Maxey said. “It reminded me of when Embiid was out against the Heat a couple of weeks ago. It was tough, but it also helped me grow and adapt to this role.”

Philadelphia 76ers vs the Orlando Magic (Credits: Yard Barker)

Philadelphia won all three games against Orlando this season. However, if both Orlando (playing against Milwaukee) and Indiana (facing Atlanta) win on Sunday, the Sixers would drop to the seventh seed and enter the play-in tournament.

An Orlando win would give them the Southeast Division title due to the NBA’s tiebreaker rules. Indiana won two out of three games against Philadelphia this season.

The Sixers wrap up the regular season against Brooklyn on Sunday. “I don’t think other results will affect us too much,” Nurse noted. “We’re still focused on keeping our rhythm and getting some players into game shape.”


By Ritik

Ritik Katiyar is pursuing a post-graduate degree in Pharmaceutics. Currently, he lives in Srinagar, Uttarakhand, India. You can find him writing about all sorts of listicle topics. A pharmaceutical postgrad by day, and a content writer by night. You can write to him at [email protected]

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