‘THAT’S WHY HE’S THE MVP,’ SIXERS HARDEN SAYS OF JOJO

By Jerry Wein

After a day of speculation and upgrades in his status, Joel Embiid was announced as part of the starting lineup after taking the court for his customary workout about 45 minutes before tip — one he went through while wearing the mask he would need to wear in the game.

“I can only imagine how difficult it is,” said James Harden, who had 17 points and six assists in 38 minutes.

“I mean, I’ve had a concussion before, so just to come off a concussion, and obviously his face is swollen, still got a hand problem.

“But it was game time. It was winning time. It’s the playoffs. Joel knew how much we needed him, and he delivered. His dominance on both ends of the ball is very important to this team, it’s very valuable to this team.

“That’s why he’s the MVP and we fed off that and we got to just continue to keep pushing.”

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