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Joel Embiid ‘s Triumphant Return 76ers Defeat Thunder and Reignite Playoff Aspirations



Joel Embiid, who sat out the regular-season finale, finishes with 30.6 points per game this season, 0.7 ahead of Giannis Antetokounmpo

Joel Embiid came back strong for the 76ers after being out for two months because of knee surgery. He scored 24 points and helped Philly secure a 109-105 victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder. It was his first game since January 30. Embiid’s been dealing with a left meniscus injury, but he showed up big time on Tuesday night, sinking crucial free throws in the last 40 seconds to seal the win.

Embiid wasn’t expected to play on Tuesday. He didn’t even join the team for their practice earlier that day. But just before the game, he got the green light to play. And boy, did he deliver! In almost 30 minutes of play, he not only scored points but also dished out seven assists and grabbed six rebounds. But more than stats, he brought a sense of confidence to the team. His presence showed that the Sixers still have a chance to turn things around this season and aim for the playoffs, especially with their MVP back on the court.

Joel Embiid’s adorable son crashed his MVP speech ahead of Game 3 vs. Celtics
Joel Embiid started tearing up when his son reached where he was standing.

Having their star player back is huge for the Sixers. They’ve been struggling in the Eastern Conference standings without him. Last week, their coach mentioned that Embiid would join the team on a road trip to work out, hinting at a possible return. Though no one knew exactly when he’d be back, it seems like his recovery went pretty quickly, allowing him to return this week.

After the game, Joel Embiid received congratulations from Hall of Famer Allen Iverson.

I didn’t play as well as I wanted,” Embiid admitted. “Usually when I come back from injuries, I aim for 30 or 40 points to help us win. But this time, it’s different. It’ll take me some time to get back to my best and trust my body. But as long as we win, my main focus is on defense.


The Sixers were down by 11 points with about 7 minutes left, but then they went on a crazy comeback. It all started with a 3-pointer from Kelly Oubre Jr., and Joel Embiid finished it off with some clutch free throws. He hit two to put the Sixers ahead 106-105 and then added two more to make it 108-105. He didn’t miss any of his 12 free throw attempts all night.

After the game, Embiid looked worn out as he sat on the scorer’s table, but then he went over to chat with Iverson.

Nick Nurse Assesses Jeol Embiid's retuen after 76ers
Joel Embiid’s return after 76ers

Embiid Sparks 76ers Win

Oubre scored 25 points, and Tobias Harris chipped in with 18.

Embiid got hurt on January 30 against Golden State. He had surgery on his left knee a week later, and without him, the Sixers slipped down the standings in the East. Right now, they’re in eighth place, trailing Miami by 1.5 games.

With a healthy Embiid, the 76ers stand a much better chance in the playoffs, potentially winning a series or two.


Thunder coach Mark Daigneault noted that Embiid’s presence significantly alters the Sixers’ style of play compared to the last 30 games without him.

In the fourth quarter, the Thunder struggled, especially with All-Star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander sidelined for the third time in four games due to a quad injury. Jalen Williams was also out with an ankle issue. Meanwhile, the 76ers had All-Star guard Tyrese Maxey inactive due to a hip problem.

Sixers coach Nick Nurse praised the Thunder’s lineup, highlighting Gilgeous-Alexander’s impact as a top-tier player. He also acknowledged the emergence of other talented players on the Thunder roster.

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  1. Pingback: Detroit Pistons Navigating Injuries and Performance Dips in March 2024 - Sports Groovy

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