On Friday, Embiid said the pain in his left knee had gotten so bad, he wasn’t sure if he would be available to play in Game 1 of the series. Embiid missed 14 of the Sixers’ final 24 games, and is officially listed as doubtful for Saturday.
“It really worries me, maybe because I had injuries,” TNT analyst and former Sixers forward Chris Webber said. “The playoffs are so long, it’s a grind and a haul. You’re going to need everybody at full strength, especial in the [Eastern Conference]. And so Embiid’s impending health issues … that’s what would worry me as a Sixers fan.”
On a positive note, Sixers fans in and around Philadelphia will have their choice of two broadcasts for the game, which is scheduled to tip off at the Wells Fargo Center at 2:30 p.m. Game 1 will air nationally on ESPN, with Dave Pasch on play-by-play alongside analyst Doris Burke. Here in Philadelphia, the game will also air on NBC Sports Philadelphia, with Marc Zumoff and Alaa Abdelnaby in the booth.
For the 2018-19 season, the Sixers averaged a 2.7 household rating on NBC Sports Philadelphia and NBC Sports Philadelphia+, up 12 percent compared to the 2017-18 season (which was up 45 percent compared to the 2016-17 season).
When: Saturday, April 13
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Time: 2:30 p.m.
TV: ESPN (Dave Pasch, Doris Burke, Cassidy Hubbarth) and NBC Sports Philadelphia (Marc Zumoff, Alaa Abdelnaby, Serena Winters)
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic (Tom McGinnis)
Streaming: WatchESPN app, NBC Sports app, MyTeam app (all require cable authentication), Sling TV, Hulu Live, YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue, FuboTV (all require a subscription)
Sixers Pregame Live starts at 1:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia, hosted by Amy Fadool alongside Jim Lynam and Marc Jackson. The three will return for Sixers Postgame Live following the game. Sixers Outsiders will follow, featuring Tyrone Johnson and Krystle Rich.
On ESPN, NBA Countdown starts at 1:30 p.m., hosted by Michelle Beadle and featuring analysts Jalen Rose, Stan Van Gundy, and Paul Pierce (who is still being bashed for comments about retiring Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade).
The Sixers went 2-2 against the Nets in four games this season.
• March 28: Embiid scored 39 points in the Sixers‘ 120-112 win at the Wells Fargo Center.
• Dec. 12: The Nets defeated the Sixers, 127-124, at the Wells Fargo Center behind Spencer Dinwiddie’s career-high 39 points.
• Nov. 25: Jimmy Butler’s three-pointer with less than a second on the clock sealed a come-from-behind 127-125 win in Brooklyn.
• Nov. 4: The Sixers lost to the Nets by 25 points in a game Brett Brown called “unacceptable”
• Columnist David Murphy thinks everyone might be underestimating the Sixers because of one player.
• Keith Pompey writes that Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler will figure heavily on how deep into the playoffs the Sixers go.
• Ben Simmons will reunite on the court with high-school teammate D’Angelo Russell, writes Marc Narducci.
• Sarah Todd spoke to Embiid, Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade, Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, and many others to put together an oral history of the Sixers’ 2018 playoff run.
• Ed Barkowitz writes that All-Star D’Angelo Russell was the only player in the Eastern Conference who averaged 20-plus points and seven assists. He also had a better three-point shooting percentage than JJ Reddick.
• Barkowitz also points out the last time the Sixers faced the then-New Jersey Nets in the playoffs was 1984. The Nets stunned the defending-champion Sixers, winning three games at the Spectrum to take the five-game series.
• Joe Harris won this year’s three-point contest during the All-Star game, and is the first Nets player to ever lead the NBA in three-point shooting percentage.
• Game 1: Saturday, April 13, 2:30 p.m., at Sixers (ESPN)
• Game 2: Monday, April 15, 8 p.m., at Sixers (TNT)
• Game 3: Thursday, April 18, 9 p.m., at Brooklyn (TNT)
• Game 4: Saturday, April 20, 3 p.m., at Brooklyn (TNT)
• Game 5 (if necessary): Tuesday, April 23, TBD, at Sixers (TBD)
• Game 6 (if necessary): Thursday, April 25, TBD, at Brooklyn (TBD)