Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid made his playoff debut last night in game 3 against the Miami Heat and definitely made his presence known.
The all-star center dropped 23 points while adding seven rebounds and four assists in 30 minutes of play en route to a 128-108 victory for the 76ers to take the series lead 2-1.
“I’m going to be a nightmare for them,” Embiid said.
Embiid has been out for the last three weeks due to an injury he sustained from bumping into teammate Markelle Fultz. He is also still nursing a concussion as well. In coming back, it was not so much his inability to perform due to the injuries, but more so him proving that he could absorb contact without worsening his injuries.
As a result, Embiid has to wear a black mask in order to protect his face and did so in last nights game. Embiid said that the mask was “annoying,” but that he would have to wear it for the rest of the playoffs.
The mask itself received its fair share of attention during the game, with Miami Heat guard Justise Winslow stepping on the glasses attached to it during Thursday night’s game.
“Justise stepped on it and tried to break it with his hands, but little do they know I have about 50 of them,” Embiid said. “So it’s going to take much more than that to get me out of the series.”
Embiid did admit that he would rather not wear the mask if he had the choice.
“At the end of the day, no matter how much it bothers me I still got to be a basketball player,” he said. “If the shots aren’t falling or it gets foggy and I can’t see, you know, there’s a lot of different stuff I can do.”
While it may have been an inconvenience for Embiid to wear this mask, it did not stop him from leading this 76ers team to a game three win.
Game four is set for tomorrow at 2:30 p.m.