PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 06: Kyle Lowry #7 of the Miami Heat fouls Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers in the first half during Game Three of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals at the Wells Fargo Center on May 6, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

By Dylan MacKinnon

The mood has certainly changed around the Sixers this weekend. On Thursday the Sixers were down 0-2. They lost by double digits in each of the first two games, and things seemed bleak. To make things worse, it was unclear if Embiid could return for game 3. But early on Friday, the news came out that Embiid had cleared concussion protocol. He stepped onto the floor that night to cheers of “MVP” from the Philly faithful and led them to a win in game 3. And now, they have a chance to even things up in Game 4.

Embiid is still officially listed as questionable, and likely will be for the rest of the playoffs as he plays through a torn ligament in his thumb and a fractured orbital bone. But despite the questionable label, he is expected to play. Friday night was his first game back since the hit to the face that fractured his orbital bone and gave him a concussion with symptoms that lasted over a week. His return made an immediate difference. He scored just 18pts on 5-12 shooting, but his impact went beyond scoring.

In games 1 and 2 Bam Adebayo shot 15-19 in the paint. Embiid didn’t let him score in the paint a single time in game 3. In fact, Bam managed to get just two shots within the paint all game. And after shooting horribly from 3 in games 1 and 2, Danny Green hit 7 of them in Game 3.

The Sixers are trying to become the 32nd team in NBA history to dig themselves out of a 2-0 hole. They have already taken the first step. Tonight they will try to even things up. The Game tips at 8. Our coverage begins at 6 pm with a special pregame show hosted by Devon Givens and Bob Cooney from the Wells Fargo Center. Tom McGinnis is on the call.