East Notes: Sixers, Joel Embiid, Pacers, Heat


NBA All-Star Joel Embiid scored 37 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in Tuesday’s win over the Pistons, and suddenly, the Sixers are looking like themselves again.Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers, NBA

Just in time for the playoffs. Or play-in tournament. For Embiid, it makes no difference.

“I keep my eyes on the other games, but it doesn’t matter if we (keep winning),” he told reporters. “Play-in or not, it doesn’t really matter.”

  • Embiid played 36 minutes, his most since returning from a knee injury four games ago. “I want to keep playing as many minutes as possible,” he said. “I just want to keep building up because we don’t have many days (before the playoffs).”
  • The Sixers played without star guard Tyrese Maxey, who sat with left hip soreness. He erupted for 52 points vs. the Spurs on Sunday. His injury is not believed to be serious.


It seemed as if the Pacers were destined to finish sixth in the NBA East, but they could still do better than that with two games to go. They could also do worse and drop to the play-in tournament.

This is something coach Rick Carlisle addressed after Tuesday’s rout of the Raptors. “Every win is big and nothing has been settled yet,” he said.

  • Meanwhile, the Pacers improved to 22-17 with power forward Pascal Siakam, who of course started the season with the Raptors. “This is what you play for, to be in the playoffs and play some meaningful basketball at this time of the year,” Siakam said.


Coach Erik Spoelstra indicated he’s just fine with the Heat being in the postseason fight of their lives yet again. Miami is in eighth place in the East, just a half-game behind the Sixers, after Tuesday’s thrilling double-overtime road win over the Hawks.

“I love it league-wide,” Spoelstra told NBA reporters. “There is a bunch of competition around the league fighting for something. Ten years ago at this time, everyone is resting or tanking. This is not the case right now. This brought out all of the emotions competition brings out.”

  • A big reason for the Heat’s win was keeping the Hawks off the offensive glass in the two overtime periods. “They are a great offensive rebounding team,” forward Jimmy Butler said. “I thought we did a decent job in the first half, it got away from us in the second, but in the end when we needed to get rebounds, we did, and when we needed to get stops, we did.”

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