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Joel Embiid on his motivation to play in Game 3 against the Miami Heat despite his injury: "I was pissed off watching another big men go and play well against my team"

Joel Embiid reflects on his return for the Philadelphia 76ers in a big Game 3 win against the Miami Heat
Joel Embiid reflects on his return for the Philadelphia 76ers in a big Game 3 win against the Miami Heat

Joel Embiid emphasized that everyone on the team, including him, would have to be healthy and play almost perfect team basketball to win this playoff series

The Philadelphia 76ers secured a critical 79-99 win in Game 3 against the Miami Heat after Joel Embiid was cleared to play and somewhat surprised everyone by returning into the starting lineup.

The 76ers fans were relieved after it was announced Joel Embiid would play in Game 3 against the Miami Heat despite his sustained injuries that would sideline most players for the rest of the season. Embiid understood the importance of this game and, despite suffering a concussion and a broken orbital bone from Game 6 against the Toronto Raptors, positively impacted both ends of the floor for the 76ers.

Embiid admits it was a struggle to come out and play in Game 3

Embiid finished the game with 18 points and 11 rebounds in 36 minutes of action, which was sort of a shock for him as well initially. In a press conference after the game, Embiid admitted he was still dealing with symptoms from the concussion. 

"It was a struggle because of the concussion and dealing with a bunch of symptoms, but I am glad we got a win, and I am glad I am back."

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Embiid's numbers are not close to what he usually puts up but considering all the circumstances, the 76ers needed every bit of help they could get from their superstar. The Heat defense was set up differently with Embiid on the floor, and his presence on defense showed to be of extreme importance for the 76ers, who had an easier time controlling the boards than in the first two games. 

"I just wanted to use my presence out there as a decoy and what I pride myself on is really the defense where my presence is really felt. That is one of the main reasons why playing I could have a huge impact."

The sheer motivation was also a significant factor for Embiid in this game, and it came from seeing Miami Heat big men Bam Adebayo dominate both ends of the floor in the first two games. Embiid admits that "pissed him off," so he wanted to go back there and showcase there is no room for that when he is on the floor for the 76ers. Adebayo had a poor game with only 9 points and 3 rebounds, which showcases Embiid's imprint on the game in one way since Adebayo averaged 23 points and 10.5 rebounds for the first two games in this series. 

"That big fella Bam, was really dominating, and I was really pissed of watching another big men go and play well against my team. It's unfortunate, can't take it back, but now we just have to focus on the next game."

Embiid believes the 76ers can win it all

Embiid said he only wants to win a championship no matter what and believes this team has what it takes to go to the NBA Finals. However, Embiid also emphasized that everyone on the team, including him, would have to be healthy and play almost perfect team basketball for that to happen. 

"I really want to win, and I feel like we have a chance to win it all. Obviously, we have to stay healthy, and we all have to play well at the same time; we all have to be damn near perfect. To me, that is what I signed up for, and whatever it will take me to win, that is what I am going to do."

Luckily for the 76ers tonight, multiple players came out to play and contributed to today's win against the Heat. Maxey had 21 points, with most of them coming in the crucial 4th quarter, Harden finished the game with 17 points, and Danny Green came out with big 21 points shooting the lights out from three. 

They are a great team when the 76ers are playing like they did tonight, but they will have to be consistent, especially in Game 2 on Sunday. If the Sixers tie the series, the momentum shifts in their favor despite Game 5 being in Miami, and luckily for them, Embiid is motivated and ready to play as he ever was so far in his career.

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