Joel Embiid
(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid is officially listed as doubtful in advance of Game 1 against the Brooklyn Nets.

The basketball gods just threw a wrench in the first-round matchup between the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers. Joel Embiid is listed as doubtful with “load management” and “left knee soreness” according to the NBA’s official injury report.

The 76ers were clearly concerned with Embiid’s health earlier in the week. Elton Brand and Brett Brown both spoke about the possibility of missing their All-Star center.

This completely changes the dynamic of the series. Obviously, no one wants to see any player suffer through injuries, but this undoubtedly presents the Nets with a golden opportunity.

Brooklyn has had trouble stopping Embiid in the past and physical bigs can exploit Brooklyn’s 20-year-old center Jarrett Allen.

With a 100% healthy Embiid, the Sixers probably beat the Nets in five, maybe six games. But without Embiid, the Nets have a puncher’s chance in a seven-game series.

If Embiid can’t play in Game 1, the Nets could sneak into Wells Fargo Center and steal a crucial road victory. On WFAN’s “Carlin, Maggie and Bart,” Jared Dudley spoke about the upcoming series. At one point, he talked about how important it can be to steal an early game on the road.

Now it looks like Brooklyn may have an excellent opportunity to do just that. Yes, the Sixers are still more talented than the Nets, even without Embiid. Generally speaking, talent wins out once the playoffs start.

That being said, the Nets have spent all season developing outstanding chemistry. For Philly, blockbuster trades and injuries have made it difficult to establish much chemistry.

Upsets are rare in the NBA playoffs, but far from impossible. The Brooklyn-Philly series is shaping up to be competitive at the very least.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.