James Harden is delighted Philadelphia 76ers have Joel Embiid back from injury ahead of Game 4 of their play-off series against Miami Heat on Sunday.
(This article was originally published on 06.05.2022)
Philadelphia are 10/13 to win in the Money Line as they look to level the series at 2-2, while Miami can be backed at 11/10.
Embiid missed the first two games of the series due to concussion and a right orbital fracture and Miami won both of those matches convincingly.
The MVP nominee was expected to miss the third game on Friday and was listed as out by Philadelphia as late as noon on game day, before his status was upgraded to doubtful until he was named in the starting line-up.
Embiid played wearing a protective face mask, as he did after sustaining a similar injury in 2018, and he managed 18 points and 11 rebounds as they Sixers claimed a 99-79 win.
The NBA announced on Saturday night that Philadelphia have been fined $50,000 for violating league injury reporting rules for their handling of Embiid, saying the Sixers "failed to disclose center-forward Joel Embiid's participation status in an accurate and timely manner".
Embiid's involvement on Friday may have had a monetary cost for the Sixers, but he made his presence felt on court and they look a far better team, particularly defensively, when he is involved.
Harden says Embiid deserves to win this season's MVP award and he feels the Sixers have a chance to fight back and win the series against Miam now they have their star man available again after injury.
"It's game time. It's winning time. It's the play-offs. Joel knew how much we needed him, and he delivered," said Harden, via CBS.
"His dominance on both ends of the ball is very important to this team. It's very valuable to this team. That's why he's the MVP and we fed off that and we got to just continue to keep pushing."