Philadelphia All-Star center Joel Embiid will miss the next 2-3 weeks with a bone bruise in his left knee. On the early side of a perfect recovery, he could be back by the end of March or perhaps not return until a week or so into April.
Whatever the case, it’ll be a costly absence for the 76ers, who go into Monday’s play with a one-game lead over Brooklyn for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Milwaukee is 2.5 games back of Philadelphia in third place in the East.
Without Embiid on Sunday, Philadelphia (27-12 straight up, 22-16-1 against the spread) had no issues trouncing San Antonio 134-99 as a five-point home favorite. Doc Rivers’s club has won five consecutive games both SU and ATS and is on a 7-1 run both SU and ATS since Feb. 23.
The 76ers have seen the ‘over’ cash at a 5-1 clip in its last six contests.
Embiid is a four-time NBA All-Star during his five season in The Association. After Philadelphia picked the one-and-done player from Kansas with the No. 3 overall selection in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft, he was forced to sit out his first two seasons after undergoing multiple surgeries on his injured foot.
Embiid is enjoying a career season in his first year with Rivers, the new head coach and won an NBA title with the Boston Celtics in 2008 and had a long tenure as HC of the L.A Clippers more recently. Embiid is tied for second in the NBA in scoring (with Portland’s Damian Lillard) with a career-high 29.9 points-per-game average.
Embiid is ranked seventh in the NBA in rebounds (11.5 RPG) and is in a 10th-place tie in the NBA in blocked shots (1.4 BPG). He’s also averaging 3.3 assists and 1.2 steals per game.
Embiid is making a career-best 52.5 percent of his field-goal attempts, is shooting at a career-high 42.2 percent clip from 3-point land and is also hitting free throws at a career-best clip (85.9%).
DraftKings has the 76ers with the sixth-shortest odds to win the NBA finals at 12/1. The Lakers are +260 favorites, followed by Brooklyn (+300), the Clippers (+550), Milwaukee (+700) and Utah (+800).
DraftKings has LeBron James as the +160 ‘chalk’ to win NBA MVP honors. Denver’s Nikola Jokic has the next-shortest odds at +200, right in front of Embiid (+600).