The 76ers will tell you that Joel Embiid’s recovery from left knee surgery has been better than expected.
Coach Brett Brown was asked if the center would be cleared to play back-to-back games on Wednesday and Thursday nights. The Sixers entertain the Washington Wizards on Wednesday at home before facing the Boston Celtics one night later at T.D. Garden.
“I don’t really know,” Brown said of Embiid’s playing both nights. “We don’t know yet.”
The coach said he hadn’t looked that far ahead, nor had he asked the medical staff the question. His focus Monday was on facing the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Wells Fargo Center. But as of a week ago, Embiid was not cleared to play on consecutive nights.
“It does come up in coaches’ meetings,” Brown said. “But not to the point where I forced an answer. We are kicking that around.”
Admiring LeBron’s smarts
JJ Redick was asked to name the one thing that really stands out about the Cavaliers’ perennial all-star, LeBron James.
A reporter wondered openly if it was James’ size or his superior speed for someone listed at 6-foot-8, 250-pounds.
“His intelligence,” said Redick, the Sixers shooting guard. “He’s one of — if not the — smartest players to ever play in the NBA. The way he understands the game, sees the game, it’s all because of how smart he is.
“He is the definition of a basketball genius.”
James headed into Monday night’s game ranked third in the NBA in scoring (28.5 points per game) and fourth in assists (8.6). The 15th-year veteran also was averaging 7.8 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks. He was tied for seventh in the league with 11 double-doubles and had two triple-doubles. The four-time league MVP was shooting a career-high 42.2 percent on three-pointers.
The rebounding factor
Entering the game, the Sixers were 10-2 in games when they outrebounded their opponents. They recorded a season-high 57 rebounds against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday and followed that up with 53 boards against the Orlando Magic on Saturday. That was their league-leading ninth game with at least 50 rebounds. The Sixers also led the NBA in rebounding at 48.8 per game.