Sixers Opener Recap: Joel Embiid Plays More Than Expected and Ben Simmons Shines

Ned Dishman | NBAE via Getty Images

Frustrated about his minutes restriction, Joel Embiid called it “f-cking bulls-it” when asked about it on Tuesday.

Then he went and played a lot more than expected in the Philadelphia 76ers’ season opener.

Embiid, who was supposed to play around 16 minutes, saw the floor for 26:57. He had 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting to go with 13 rebounds, but the Washington Wizards held off the Sixers 120-115 on Wednesday.

Embiid spoke about his limitations following the game.

We got to stop calling that `minute restrictions.’ I think the plan is to just get out there, play, see how I feel. There’s going to be some games I’m going to be sore and I’m going to be tired. If you’re tired, get out because injuries happen when you’re more tired.

Embiid played less than 20 minutes just twice last season during his 31 games played.

The No. 1 overall picks the past two NBA Drafts, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz, respectively, made their regular season debuts. Simmons did not disappoint, putting up 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, while Fultz poured in 10 points off the bench.

Sixers head coach Brett Brown said after the game that Simmons was “exceptional.”

“I feel that his first game was really exceptional. Really, really exceptional. Physically, we all see what he is as an athlete, and I think that his growth path, his improvement scale, can be off the charts.”

Simmons said that he felt like he was playing NBA 2K.

“It felt like I was playing 2K honestly. Just looking at Joel Embiid out there with the lights on his jersey. I was like, ‘man, I’m actually here.”

Robert Covington, who led the team with 29 points on 7-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc, clawed the Sixers within 115-113 with 1:18 to play, but a pair of consecutive turnovers by Jerryd Bayless and Covington on consecutive possessions in the final minute sealed the win for Washington.

You can check out my highlights recap below.


You can follow Adrian Fedkiw on Twitter (@AdrianFedkiw) and e-mail him at amfedkiw@yahoo.com. Subscribe to The Bitter Birds on YouTube here. Follow Philly Influencer on Twitter (@PHL_Influencer), Facebook and Instagram.

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