Written by Ira Winderman
Plan A has turned into Plan B in this best-of-seven, opening-round NBA playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers. But that doesn’t mean that Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra isn’t poised to pivot the moment he sees Joel Embiid back on the court.
With Embiid missing his 10th consecutive game Monday night at Wells Fargo Center, the focus of Spoelstra and the Heat has turned to the ball-movement approach of a 76ers offense that now has rookie point guard Ben Simmons as the focus.
But Spoelstra said at Monday’s shootaround at Temple University that there is an in-case-of-emergency envelope waiting to be opened the moment that Embiid is cleared from the fractured orbital bone near his left eye sustained a March 28 game against the New York Knicks.
The expectation remains that the return will come in Thursday’s Game 3 at AmericanAirlines Arena.
“We had to, leading up to the first game,” he said of Saturday’s postseason opener that the Heat dropped 130-103, “because we didn’t know for absolutely certain, until I see him not walk out there. So we had to prepare for him.