Sixers open up National Basketball Association playoffs on Saturday at 8 pm on ESPN

Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons Atlanta Hawks forward Taurean Prince left and guard Isaiah Taylor vie for a loose ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday

"It still doesn't feel all the way right". As well as they've played without him, the Sixers go from being pretty comfortable favorites against the lower half of the Eastern Conference playoff picture to being in a dogfight without him. Midway through the first quarter, they were out of contention against the Sixers, with their fate in the hands of a handful of teams near the bottom of the playoff picture.

"It's unlikely, but there's still a chance", Embiid said before the Sixers hosted the Milwaukee Bucks in the regular-season finale Wednesday.

"I just got to take it day-by-day", said Embiid. "With the way it's been progressing, I'm hopeful I'll be back soon". "I feel like I've been the best defensive player in the league so far".

In Orlando, Rodney Purvis scored 16 points for the Magic and Mario Hezonja finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

Embiid wore a black mask during warmups to protect his broken bone around his left eye, then changed into his garish outfit to watch the Sixers romp to a stunning 80-44 lead at the break. I can't really feel it.

The mask Embiid has chosen is a bit of a story in itself, with most National Basketball Association fans aware that black or dark masks haven't been approved by the league in the past.

The tone of the night was set early on as the Bucks got off to a flat start, which played a big part in the 76ers racing out to a double-digit lead midway through the first.

Embiid has yet to participate in any contact drills and has limited his activities to light workouts.

Wednesday's game was the first time since 1997 that two teams played on the regular season's final day with the victor advancing to the playoffs and the loser being ousted.

There was plenty to decide on the final day of the regular season but not the scoring title. But he stayed healthy until the freak injury and developed into one of the league's top defenders (1.8 blocks, 38 double-doubles).

When asked by reporters, he said Ben Simmons should be the Rookie of the Year and Brown should the Coach of the Year.

"I feel like I'm the best center in the league, and I proved it", he said. "We have the resume".

The Philadelphia 76ers (51-3) are the hottest team in the National Basketball Association winning 15 games in a row. This year, when I actually do play a lot of games, I don't know what excuse they're going to find next.

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