Sixers beat Nets 107-86 without Joel Embiid. Philly plays Miami in the play-ins.

Philadelphia — Eight straight wins to close the season got the 76ers to their first play-in tournament. Joel Embiid anticipates participation. Two days after tweaking his surgically repaired left knee, Embiid missed Philadelphia's 107-86 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday as a precaution. Tirese Maxey scored 26 and Tobias Harris 21 to lead the Sixers.

Former NBA MVP Embiid wasn't needed in the rout, but he'll play Wednesday night when the 76ers host Miami in the NBA play-in round. The winner receives the No. 7 Eastern Conference seed and a playoff series against the second-seeded Knicks. On Friday, the loser will host Atlanta or Chicago to determine the No. 8 seed and who would face Boston in the first round.  

“We’ve got a good mindset, I think, and we’ll just take that into Wednesday,” Sixers coach Nick Nurse said. Nurse said two-time NBA scoring champion Embiid would be ready for the Heat. The Sixers maintained they rested Embiid solely as a precaution, even with a fifth-place Eastern Conference seeding at stake. Friday's knee injury was Embiid's latest in a career full of them.  

The 39-game season saw Embiid average 34.7 points and 11 rebounds. He scored 1,353 points in 1,309 minutes, a statistical oddity. To win a round or more in the East, the 76ers need Embiid to be healthy. The Sixers went 31-8 with Embiid and 16-27 without him.  

“I think we did battle some adversity,” Nurse remarked. I'm most delighted with our competitive drive and attitude, which has increased in recent months. We perform at a level we should all expect our guys to compete at.”  

The playoff picture was resolved about the same time because all Eastern Conference games started in the afternoon. Nurse advised against scoreboard gazing to “try to keep the focus on the game and the basketball.” Easy said than done—Nurse admitted to peeking at the scoreboard.  

Scoreboard watching was justified. The 76ers might have reached the sixth seed and playoffs if Milwaukee beat Orlando. The Magic defeated the Bucks and Doc Rivers 113-88.NBC Sports Philadelphia interviewed Buddy Hield, who had 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists, with the snide caption, “Thanks For Nothing, Doc Rivers & Bucks.”  

The Sixers came back from a first-quarter deficit to beat the Nets with Allen Iverson and Julius Erving in the house. Even Nets interim coach Kevin Ollie saw how good Embiid might make the Sixers. “Watching them in the playoffs will be fun,” he remarked. Embiid should return to 100%.  

Embiid's career has been defined by health. After being the No. 3 choice in the 2014 draft, he missed the first two seasons and has never played more than 68 games. Embiid revealed earlier this month that sitting out again from his knee ailment “took a toll mentally.”  

Being depressed. It was bad, Embiid said. “Still not where I should be, especially mentally.” Iverson played for the Sixers in 2001, the last time they advanced from the second round. The Heat reached the NBA Finals from the play-in tournament last season. “Our main goal was to be stepping in the right direction come playoff time,” Maxey said. We're doing that, I think.  

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