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It has long been said that a series doesn’t truly begin until someone loses at home. But even if you ascribe to that theory, there’s no denying that Philadelphia and Dallas needed to pick up wins in their respective series on Friday. And both came through, with the former receiving a boost in the form of its MVP candidate returning from injury, and the latter managed to buckle down defensively after struggling on that end of the floor in Phoenix.
76ers 99, Heat 79 (Miami leads, 2-1)
Philadelphia received a much-needed boost to its rotation for Game 3, as Joel Embiid was cleared to play after missing the first two games due to a fractured orbital bone and concussion symptoms. It was reported that the MVP candidate would be on a minutes restriction but Embiid ultimately played 36 minutes, finishing with 18 points (5-of-12 FGs, 8-of-10 FTs), 11 rebounds, one assist, and one steal, and one blocked shot. He may not have looked like his usual, dominant self (the lack of conditioning work throughout the week had a lot to do with this), but there’s no denying the impact that Embiid’s mere presence had on the matchup.
Embiid’s return also meant that DeAndre Jordan was completely out of the rotation, with Paul Reed (2/4/1) logging 12 minutes in the backup center role. So long as Embiid is healthy enough to play, neither Jordan nor Reed will be of value in DFS. Tyrese Maxey (21/2/6/2 with five 3-pointers) scored all of his points after halftime, while Danny Green (21 points, four rebounds, and seven 3-pointers) had his best game of the series. James Harden, however, continues to struggle with his shot, as he shot 4-of-11 from the field (1-of-7 3-pointers).
He ultimately tallied 17 points, eight rebounds, six assists, one blocked shot, and seven turnovers in 38 minutes. Harden did boast a…