No intentions to close down Embiid: ‘He’s putting up a fight’

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NEW YORK — Philadelphia 76ers coach Nick Nurse confirmed after Saturday night’s 111-104 Game 1 loss to the New York Knicks that despite a recent scare involving Joel Embiid, there are no plans to bench the reigning MVP.

“He really is a warrior, and he’s battling,” Nurse said of Embiid. “I think he absolutely wants to play.”

Embiid had to leave the game in the first half for a brief period after a spectacular play where he executed an impressive one-handed dunk after bouncing the ball off the backboard to himself.

Despite leading in scoring with 18 points in the first half, Embiid landed awkwardly on his left leg after the dunk and had to leave the game momentarily for assessment. Similar to a previous incident against the Orlando Magic, Embiid managed to return to the game after an evaluation and was back on the court with his team.

Embiid refused to speak to the media post-game.

He totaled 29 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals in 37 minutes of play. Philadelphia struggled when he was off the court, being outscored by 21 points during those intervals. However, his performance dipped after the first quarter with 14 points on 3-for-13 shooting over the final three quarters of the game.

This match was Embiid’s seventh since his return to action after knee surgery in February.

“Nothing with Joel surprises me now,” said Tyrese Maxey, who led Philadelphia with 33 points. “He’s always a fighter. He’s always going to try and give it his all for his team. So if he thinks he can go, he’ll for sure be out there.”

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