DeAndre Jordan Will Keep Starting in Place of Injured Joel Embiid, 76ers' Rivers Says

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 3, 2022

MIAMI, FL - MAY 2: DeAndre Jordan #9 of the Philadelphia 76ers high fives before the game against the Miami Heat during Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 2, 2022 at FTX Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers outscored the Miami Heat by eight points during the 31 minutes big man DeAndre Jordan was on the bench in Monday's game against the Miami Heat.

Yet they lost 106-92 because they were outscored by 22 points during the 17 minutes he played.

That would seem to necessitate changes, but 76ers head coach Doc Rivers has different plans.

"We are going to keep starting him [DeAndre Jordan] whether you like it or not because our guys believe in him," he told reporters after the loss, which gave Miami a 1-0 lead in the second-round series.

While the quote made Rivers appear somewhat stubborn in his ways given what unfolded on the court, this also isn't the situation he and the 76ers expected to find themselves in after eliminating the Toronto Raptors in the first round.

After all, Joel Embiid is one of the best players in the entire NBA and was in the MVP discussion throughout the season. He is supposed to be starting and anchoring the front line for 40-plus minutes, but he suffered a right orbital fracture and concussion that will keep him sidelined for at least the first two games in this series.

That left Philadelphia scrambling for answers, and Rivers turned to Jordan for Game 1.

It didn't work.

He finished with four points and two rebounds while struggling on defensive assignments and serving as mostly a nonfactor unless he was near the rim on offense. He looked nothing like he did in his prime when he was soaring for alley-oops as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Paul Reed looked like a much better option with four points, nine rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block in 13 minutes of action, but his time was limited by foul trouble with five in that span alone.

Paul Millsap struggled while going scoreless in six minutes, and Georges Niang was arguably worse with zero points on 0-of-7 shooting from the field in 22 minutes.

Rivers isn't exactly working with the best options with Embiid sidelined, but he will apparently stick with Jordan for Game 2.