Amir Johnson will make his 25th National Basketball Association postseason start on Saturday in place of injured Joel Embiid in Game 1 of a first-round playoff series against the Miami Heat. "From that point going forward, we'll figure some stuff out but unless something remarkable happens, Dan, I don't plan on him playing in Game 1".
Philadelphia's short odds are largely a reflection of the recent 16-game winning streak as well as their favorable playoff seeding. Even the champions couldn't overcome that, dropping six of their final 10 games, but they start against a San Antonio team whose injury problems are every bit as bad, assuming Kawhi Leonard doesn't return after missing nearly the entire season.
The All-Star center sustained a fractured orbital bone when collided with Markelle Fultz on March 28 and missed the remainder of the regular season.
The Sixers have been given surprisingly short odds thanks to the emergence of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Simmons missed all of a year ago due to an injury, something that Mitchell pointed out by taking to Instagram wearing a hoodie with the definition of the word "rookie" on it.
In that case, they are likely to be pitted against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals. But the Thunder might be one of those teams better built for the postseason, and they got an easier road when they won three straight to grab home-court advantage against a Utah team that would have had it before a season-ending loss at Portland.
Like I said, it was his to lose.
Johnson has watched the young Sixers' core mature over the course of the year and has seen the dedication in preparing for the Heat over the last couple days. At one point, the Sixers led 72-37 at the same time the Flyers were down 7-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the National Hockey League playoffs. He finished with 10 points in just over 10 minutes.
Bucks: Jabari Parker scored 25 and Giannis Antetokounmpo had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Brett Brown's men will kick off their postseason against Hassan Whiteside and the Miami Heat. Cleveland can finish No. 3 or No. 4 in the East, depending on the outcome of its game against the Knicks and the Milwaukee at Philadelphia game.
If necessary, the Sixers will host Game 5 Tuesday April 24. Starting times have not been announced.