It was a frustrating Game 1 for the Philadelphia 76ers' All-Star centre, as his team fell to the Brooklyn Nets 111-102.
Prior to the game, Joel Embiid was listed as doubtful - just moments before opening tip, he decided to play.
"I decided about 15 minutes before the game, 20 maybe," Embiid told the media after the game. "I was out there just thinking 'oh my gosh, push through the pain', and obviously, it came with a loss, but I was just trying to do the right thing."
"I thought Joel looked like he hadn't played in a while, yet was still dominant," 76ers' head coach Brett Brown stated. And he wasn't wrong - Embiid's stat-line doesn't tell the story as he still finished with a double-double of 22 points, 15 rebounds, five blocks and four assists.
You could tell that his knee was bothering him, but it was getting back into game-speed condition that affected him more. "It was clear that with the pace of the game and speed of the game, that he was tired," Brown said on the topic.
When Embiid was asked about his conditioning, he said he felt out of shape, but followed up by stating he's fine and he'll get it back quickly.
As for the pain in his knee and how it affected his play, "I shot more jumpers and they didn't go in, we'll move on." Embiid struggled shooting, going 5-for-15 from the field and 0-for-5 from 3-point range.
When he was asked again if he felt pain in his knee he stated, "ah yeah, but I'm fine ... it's whatever."
Embiid will have two days to rest before the 76ers and Nets take the court again on Monday.