Philadelphia centre Joel Embiid has become the 76ers lightning rod

Brett Brown Ben Simmons Sixers

"I'm kind of disappointed".

Embiid looked like he was limping to the end of a season in which he had once displayed dominant form.

"He (Embiid) was trying to do whatever he could to represent his organization and play basketball for the Philadelphia 76ers", Brown told reporters.

He forced his way open in the first half, making 9 of 15 shots in the first and he gave the Sixers the confidence they needed to know another game wasn't going to turn into a rout.

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"It just happened. A lot of things like that happen".

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The Sixers are now battling the Toronto Raptors in the second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. He's the manifestation of the payoff for all those rebuilding years they suffered, he embraces the idea that he will lead the Sixers back to relevance, and they love him for it. "Along with Jo and everybody else, you can't key in on one or two guys on this team because we have so many guys that can put the ball in the basket". Embiid put up 10 points on 3-for-5 shooting, with six rebounds and two blocks - both of them coming on Kawhi Leonard - and played 11 of the 12 minutes. He wasn't listed on the injury report at all, unlike the previous week, when gastric issues were there in plain sight, but word leaked just before tipoff that he had again fallen ill.

Teammate Jimmy Butler also publicly urged Simmons and Embiid to do more.

After Game 4, Brown explained that his 25-year-old centre had been struck by a virus, details of which were naturally fuzzy.

"The mood in the locker room as we went through sort of an early shootaround - our version of shootaround - before, you could sense the serious side", Brown said.

Joel Embiid doesn't know if he will feel better.

It's all about being myself and having fun, he said. Mark Jackson said 'Joel Embiid, you're one of the greatest big men, can you step up to the challenge?' He's not doing that. Even if that is so, Embiid did appear to flag as Game 4 wore on. The teams will now get two days off before they meet to decide who advances to the semifinals for a date with the Milwaukee Bucks and MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo.

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