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Joel Embiid’s big night goes to waste as 76ers’ roster issues are exposed

Through 24 minutes of Friday night’s game between the Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers, Joel Embiid was unstoppable. He tossed around every defender Indiana threw at him like a rag doll, drawing one foul after another. He was a beast on the boards, bullying his way to the rim, and even hitting some shots from the perimeter.

By halftime, Embiid had 28 points and 14 rebounds, and Philadelphia had a 57-49 lead. But then things went south for him and, by extension, the Sixers.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

It’s not that Embiid was bad after the break; instead, it was that he was merely human. His second-half totals — 12 points and seven boards — saw him finish the game with a ridiculous 40 points and 21 rebounds. But Embiid being merely human for any portion of the proceedings wasn’t good enough for a Sixers team still dealing with the aftershocks of trading for Jimmy Butler, who has missed the past two games with a groin injury.6

The result? Philadelphia fell 113-101 to Indiana Friday night. In doing so, the Sixers fell to fifth place in the Eastern Conference, showing both the heavy burden Embiid has to carry and the deficiencies of Philadelphia’s roster after its franchise-changing move.

“I did,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said, when asked afterward if Embiid looked tired in the second half. “I feel like it’s a product of he’s really got a lot on his shoulders, you know, as far as the weight of our expectations on him, and he certainly expended a lot of energy in the first half.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

Rookie Landry Shamet, who scored seven points on 2-for-3 shooting Friday night, has been a revelation this season. The No. 26 pick in the 2018 draft out of Wichita State has shined early in his rookie season. But while he’s shooting over 38 percent from 3-point range, Shamet isn’t a defensive presence. In fact, he’s ranked 89th among 94 qualified players at point guard in ESPN’s defensive real plus-minus. Furkan Korkmaz, meanwhile, is a shooting guard being forced to play backup small forward minutes — or, on nights like Friday when Butler is out, starting at the 3.

Both of them struggled to handle Indiana’s physicality, the latest reminder that Brown has been forced to rely on a pair of 21-year-olds to shoulder significant burdens for him this season.