The Philadelphia 76ers are set to take on the Brooklyn Nets in Game 4 of the NBA Playoffs at Barclay’s Center, however they will be without their MVP front-runner, center Joel Embiid due to a knee injury. In the 16 games the 76ers have played this season without Embiid, they have gone 11-5. Embiid sustained a sprained right knee in Game 3, where he finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, two blocks and one steal. During the regular season, Embiid led the NBA in scoring, averaging 33.1 points per game, and was ranked eighth overall in rebounding with 10.2 boards per game.
The 76ers’ success in the playoffs this season has been largely dependent on Embiid’s health. In the last five postseasons, Embiid has battled multiple injuries, preventing the team from advancing beyond the Eastern Conference Semifinals. In the 2018 Playoffs, Embiid missed two games due to a facial fracture, and the 76ers were eliminated in the second round by the Celtics. The 2019 Playoffs saw Embiid miss a game due to stomach flu, but the 76ers were eventually knocked out in the Conference Semifinals by the Toronto Raptors. The 2020 Playoffs saw Embiid stay healthy, however the team was swept by the Celtics. This season, Embiid missed almost two full games in the first round with a slight MCL tear, but the 76ers managed to edge out the Washington Wizards. Unfortunately, they were defeated by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round.
The Nets are currently trying to avoid a first-round sweep for the second postseason in a row. They were eliminated in four games by the Boston Celtics last year. After losing two key players at the trade deadline, the Nets were simply grateful to make it to the playoffs as the #6 seed and avoid the Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament. Their success this season can be largely attributed to former Suns players Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson, who were both acquired in the Kevin Durant trade. Bridges averages 26.1 points per game and Johnson averages 21 points per game in the playoffs, leading the team in scoring.
The 76ers have opened Game 4 as a +4 home dog, however that was before Embiid’s injury was announced. The Nets are currently +1.5 heading into the game, and the 76ers have a 49-34-2 record against the point spread this season. FiveThirtyEight has the 76ers with a 28% chance to advance to the 2023 NBA Finals, and an 18% chance to win the championship. The Celtics are the only team with a higher projection at 25%. Betting odds for the 76ers to win the series are currently -20000, with the Nets at +3000.