James Harden, Sixers praise Joel Embiid for success in Game 3 win

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PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia 76ers were able to get on the board on Friday as they knocked off the Miami Heat 99-79 in Game 3 and get themselves back in this series. The Sixers had the return of Joel Embiid in this one as he was able to make an impact out on the floor without having a huge scoring night.

Embiid had 18 points on 5-for-12 shooting with 11 rebounds, but just his presence out there changed things for Philadelphia. He attracts so much attention that Philadelphia was able to get so many easy looks and it showed as they shot 47.8% from the floor and then 16-for-33 from deep.

“Just his presence on the floor is just different,” said James Harden. “It’s a paint presence that you gotta obviously pay attention to and he draws so much attention. It allows us to get to the basket and generate layups and 3s.”

He may not have had a huge offensive night, but Philadelphia benefitted from the attention Miami sent at him. Tyrese Maxey was able to explode in the second half because of that.

“They can’t send two at the ball sometimes because then you have Joel flashing as a threat on different ball screen actions and things like that,” said Maxey. “Then when he gets the ball, he demands so much attention at the elbow or at the block to where now you got your shooters getting more open 3s than we got the last two games.”

The Heat also weren’t able to get as many easy looks as his defensive ability was a big difference-maker in this one.

“His energy, his rebounding, his ability at the basket,” said coach Doc Rivers. “I’ve said it all year, you could see his timing was off a little bit, but his presence defensively, I don’t think he gets enough credit for how good of a defensive player he is and how much he helps us. I thought tonight, it was a lot of that.”

Embiid had to play with a mask due to the orbital fracture and Maxey doesn’t know how that feels, but he was just happy to see the big fella return.

“I was so happy to see 21 hanging up in the locker room with his mask or whatever,” smiled Maxey. “He’s a soldier. Just thumb, mask, concussion, broken face, makes him look even uglier now, but he’s resilient. He’s the MVP for a reason. The attention that he demands is great for us. Just a testimony to his will and wanting to win.”

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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