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Sixers Notebook: No Joel Embiid, no answers for Bucks’ bigs

PHILADELPHIA — Joel Embiid sat out his 11th straight game Sunday with a meniscus injury, the absence making the Sixers-Bucks game almost unwatchable due to the disparities in the front court.

After a 119-98 blowout administered by the Bucks Sunday, the Sixers are 7-16 without Embiid this season. Giannis Antetokounmpo encountered little resistance producing 30 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.

Sixers coach Nick Nurse is trying to maximize the skills of bigs Paul Reed and Mo Bamba, difficult as that is. Minus Embiid, the Sixers are a trainwreck. He’s scheduled to have the knee reevaluated around March 5. A good report card and the 4-to-6-week timetable for a return could be in play. Six weeks would take Embiid to March 19.

Nurse receives the medical reports on Embiid and chats with the big guy. Nurse paused when asked if he was any more optimistic that Embiid would be back this season.

“Let’s see,” Nurse said. “I was always really hopeful. I think I’m still at that point.”

Embiid is averaging a league-high 35.3 points.

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The Sixers were without the services of KJ Martin, who injured an ankle. The 6-6 Martin had been a Swiss Army Knife for Nurse.

“He’s athletic and he’ll go rebound, and he can guard multiple positions,” Nurse said. “We’ve got a few plays we can run for him. He can really get it to the rim. We’ll miss him today.”

The Bucks made 48.6 percent of their 3-point shots, Malik Beasley (20 points) nailing 6 of 7, Damian Lillard 4 of 8 on his way to 24 points.

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Tobias Harris made just 3 of 11 shots for eight points to go with eight boards in 31 minutes.

Nurse doesn’t think the sore hip is bothering Harris, although he concedes the veteran probably isn’t 100 percent healthy.

“He’s got a variety of things he can do,” Nurse said. “I still need him to get some stuff in transition, a putback or two. We’ve got a few sets for him. Then he’s got to play off of stuff coming out to him, too. We need to get him going a little bit.”

The additions of Buddy Hield and Kyle Lowry, plus the return of players from injuries, has left the Sixers at square one.

“We just have to find a way to get into a better flow out there,” Harris said. “I think the way that we’ve  been playing we’ve got to figure out how to get a little bit more structure in the halfcourt offense. Just keep being aggressive and looking for the shots when they’re there. But outside of that keep making the right play. I think more times than not, get into the paint. If the shot is there, take it. If there’s an open man, kick the ball. I’m a person who prides himself in efficiency. That’s an important part of my game is finding some easy baskets out there on the floor. Some easy looks for me to get going. And just stay with it.”

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Three-point bomber Hield misfired Sunday, the marquee acquisition shooting just 3-for-9 from beyond the arc, the first time he’s had fewer than four treys since joining the Sixers six games ago. Hield finished with just 11 points. He’d averaged 4.4 3-pointers per game with the Sixers.

Kelly Oubre was 5 of 15 from the floor and missed 4 of 5 threes on his way to a dozen points. Guard De’Anthony Melton continued working his way into more minutes as he made 4 of 8 threes in 18 minutes on the way to 16 points.

“The bright spot was Melt,” Nurse said. “That’s a heck of a game for him in those minutes. But it’s not enough when you’ve got a group of your starting guys that altogether aren’t firing.”

Source: Berkshire mont

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