Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Anunoby, Knicks Draft, Brunson

Joel Embiid is listed as questionable as the Sixers square off against the Nuggets on Monday in a battle of MVP candidates. Embiid said that if he plays, he won’t be focused on his individual matchup with Nikola Jokic, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

“These types of matchups, whether it’s against (Giannis Antetokounmpo) whether it’s against him, it’s cool and all,” Embiid said, “but at the end of the day, it’s always about Milwaukee against Philly or Denver against Philly. (Individual matchups) is not where the focus should be. The focus is on making sure everything is running right for later on (during the playoffs).”

If he does play, Embiid says he’ll need a night off soon to rest his sore calf, Pompey tweets.

“I’ve been playing a lot of minutes, I’ve been playing every single game.” Embiid said. “So to add to that, dealing with the calf and whatever the foot, I think at some point you gotta look at the bigger picture, which is the playoffs, obviously.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • OG Anunoby was a prominent trade candidate before February’s deadline but the Raptors were glad to have him on Sunday. He poured in 29 points in a pivotal victory over the Wizards, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes. “I think that almost all the time he catches and shoots, it’s a good shot — even if he’s pretty covered, especially in the corner,” coach Nick Nurse said. “He’s a really high-percentage, high-contest corner three shooter. He had a couple of mid-rangers off the catch, too — which, again, I like. He was feeling it, obviously. I think when guys are feeling it, you want them to get to wherever they can get to and let it go, so I think that’s what was going on (Sunday).”
  • The Knicks could benefit from the Mavericks’ misery, Jared Schwartz of the New York Post notes. Dallas owes New York a first-round pick, though it’s top-10 protected. Dallas is currently 11th in the Western Conference after losing its last four games. The first-rounder also has protections for 2024 and 2025, and if it does not convey within those three years, the Knicks would receive a second-round pick.
  • Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson practiced on Sunday and is listed as questionable to play Monday against Houston after missing Thursday’s game against Orlando due to a sprained right wrist, according to Dan Martin of the New York Post. Coach Tom Thibodeau said Brunson “did everything in practice” on Sunday and the team will reevaluate him before the game.
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