76ers

Sixers’ Joel Embiid skips shootaround, probable for Game 5

Sixers’ Joel Embiid skips shootaround, probable for Game 5

TORONTO — As we approach the biggest Sixers game since 2001, we’ve got more questions than answers about the team’s best player.

Joel Embiid is listed as probable with an upper-respiratory infection for Game 5 against the Raptors at Scotiabank Arena Tuesday night. He missed shootaround this afternoon and was back at the team hotel resting.

In all likelihood, the All-Star center guts it out again, but which Embiid will the Sixers get?

“I haven’t talked to him about how he’s doing. I can look at him and tell how he’s doing,” Jimmy Butler said. “Hopefully he gets his rest up, fluids, whatever he needs to do, but we want the man healthy. At the end of the day, we want him healthy obviously. We want him to be out here battling with us, but I think health is more important than anything.”

The health of Embiid will continue to be at the forefront until he can consistently stay off the team’s injury report. He’s dealt with tendinitis in his left knee for months. That caused him to miss a bunch of games down the stretch and a playoff game. The lack of playing time led to a diminished fitness level. After dealing with gastroenteritis in Game 2, he’s dealing with another ailment a week later.

Is it his diet? Is it his conditioning? At this point, those questions are probably better for the offseason. Right now, the Sixers need him to play like the star that he is to get past the Raptors — though any Embiid is better than no Embiid.

With a pivotal game on deck, the Sixers can’t worry about what exactly is bothering Embiid.

“I’m not a f---ing doctor. I don’t know,” Butler said when asked what was ailing Embiid. 

“I tried to stay as far from him as I could to tell you the truth. I love him, but I don’t want to be sick, either. I hate being sick so whenever I’m sick I’m down and out. But you could tell that he wants to battle. He wants to be out there with his guys. He did that for us last game. We love and appreciate him for it. Like I said, I’ll take him the same way tonight.”

While Marc Gasol has historically done well in his matchups against Embiid, we saw what Embiid can do when he’s right. He poured in 33 points in Game 3 and it helped the Sixers cruise to a win. If they can get about half of that from their big man, they should be fine.

Whatever he can give, they’ll take and hope it’s enough to head back to the Wells Fargo Center with a chance to punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals.

They missed a golden opportunity to go up 3-1, but have another with a chance to take a 3-2 series lead back home.

“We’re fine. I think we perform better when our backs are against the wall anyways,” Butler said. “We’re here on the road, they want to protect the home floor. We want to come in here and win. We’re locked in. We’re ready to do what we’re going to do. Just got out there and compete, man. Stick together, through good and through bad, and take our chances.”

Everyone should wash their hands and not take any chances there.

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Which Sixers player should represent the team in reported NBA2K players-only tournament?

Which Sixers player should represent the team in reported NBA2K players-only tournament?

Updated: 11:06 p.m. 

NBA fans are desperate for entertainment. 

With the season on hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic, the league is still aiming to provide some sort of distraction. According to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes, the NBA is planning to have a players-only NBA2K tournament, and hopes to launch the event on Friday. Haynes reports the tournament will include 16 players and last 10 days. 

This report leads us to consider who might represent the Sixers if they have a player participating. 

Let’s rank the 15 players on the roster based on what we know about them as people, athletes and gamers. (This ranking is highly unscientific.) 

15. Al Horford — The oldest on the roster and a family man. Video games don’t seem like Horford’s cup of tea.

14. Kyle O’Quinn — He prefers yoga

13. Zhaire Smith — Smith doesn’t often have a lot of downtime. “When I have an off day or something and I’m not doing anything, I’ll watch the Sixers. I try my best to watch them, but usually I’m busy,” he said in January.

12. Tobias Harris — You might remember what Mike Scott said about Harris in October: “He reads books.” That’s not to say reading and 2K are mutually exclusive, but Harris doesn't appear a likely candidate to be a great gamer. 

11. Furkan Korkmaz — Korkmaz spent a large chunk of this summer playing for Turkey in the FIBA World Cup and working on his game and conditioning. He can’t have taken much time sharpening whatever 2K abilities he has. 

10. Raul Neto — Neto’s a fashionable, polished guy. He could very well be an excellent gamer, but he doesn’t fit the stereotype.

9. Norvel Pelle — He found out that he was going to be converted to an NBA deal while watching a movie in his bed. Make of that what you will. 

8. Josh Richardson — As of two years ago, Richardson said he was “trash” at 2K. He at least plays and would probably have an idea of what he was doing. 

7. Matisse Thybulle — We saw Thybulle lose to the Suns’ Mikal Bridges on Friday night. Defense was, ironically, his Achilles heel. 

6. Glenn Robinson III — It’s a big stretch, but Robinson was on a young Warriors team for the first half of the season and might have some relatively recent reps against solid, young competition.

5. Alec Burks — Ditto with Burks. 

4. Shake Milton — This is mostly gut feel (not that the other rankings are much different). Whatever the competition, Milton's poise can’t hurt. 

3. Joel Embiid — Embiid was apparently good enough to crush Markelle Fultz. We’re not sure exactly how good that is, but it’s something. 

2. Mike Scott — Back in 2011, he claimed to sport a 21-3 online record in 2K. Though he said last year that he quit on the game because “they made me so trash up there,” he can’t have entirely lost those skills. 

1. Ben Simmons — Simmons is the Sixers’ most accomplished gamer by far and says he “can play any game.” He’s the clear pick unless there’s someone out there with a hidden talent. 

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Remembering the emotional night when Sixers retired Charles Barkley's jersey

Remembering the emotional night when Sixers retired Charles Barkley's jersey

Nineteen years ago today, the Sixers rose Charles Barkley’s No. 34 up to the rafters.

Barkley, who’d retired the year before after a stint with the Rockets, was touched by the honor. (You can check out footage from that night in the video above.)

“This is one of the greatest nights of my life and I’m honored to share it with you guys,” he said.

In eight seasons as a Sixer, Barkley made six All-Star games and averaged 23.3 points and 11.6 rebounds. He made the NBA Finals with the Suns and was named MVP in 1993, the season after he was traded from the Sixers. 

The team unveiled a statue of Barkley on Legends Walk in September at their practice facility in Camden, New Jersey. Never hesitant to speak his mind, he doubled down on calling the Sixers the “stupidest organization in the history of sports” for having Joel Embiid play through a back injury last January and said not taking Brad Daugherty No. 1 in the 1986 NBA Draft was “the biggest mistake the Sixers ever made."

Barkley still looks back fondly on his time as a Sixer while acknowledging things often weren’t smooth or painless.

“This is not an easy city,” he said in September, “but it’s an amazing city to play in because if you bust your hump, they’re giving to give you nothing but love. Now, if you don’t bust your hump, you’re going to think, ‘Charles Barkley, you suck.’ You’re going to think that’s your middle name.”

As a footnote, the Sixers beat the Warriors on the night of Barkley’s jersey retirement for their 50th win of the season. Allen Iverson had 35 points and nine assists, while Tyrone Hill scored 21.

“You see someone as tough as Charles Barkley try to hold in his tears, that’s a moment that I’ll never forget,” Iverson told reporters. “It just looked great. It looked like something that I’d definitely want to be a part of.”

Iverson’s No. 3 would be retired nearly 14 years later. 

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