The Philadelphia 76ers remain a work in progress.
Even after the return of All-Star Joel Embiid following a three-week absence due to COVID-19, the Sixers fell 121-120 in double overtime to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday.
The Sixers will look to rebound on Monday when they host the struggling Orlando Magic.
Embiid did make a remarkable return with 42 points and 14 rebounds, marking the 14th time in his career he has posted at least 40 points and 10 rebounds in a game.
But with the Sixers' lineup changing virtually on a nightly basis, they looked out of sync for large portions of the game.
"You know, you've got everybody coming back together. We essentially had a new starting lineup," Embiid said. "Guys have been out, I just came back, Tobias (Harris) just came back, but it's not an excuse. We dug a hole at the beginning. It was tough to come back from, but we essentially did. We had to put in a lot of energy into it. So next time we should definitely start games better."
Harris added 17 points and nine rebounds in his return from a two-game absence with hip soreness. But it looked like the hip was bothering him at times.
The Sixers will go as far as Embiid will take them this season. For his first game following COVID-19, it wasn't too shabby.
"Listen, we lost, and Joel was phenomenal, but we still lost the game," Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said. "And Joel would take 30 and win, if you know what I'm saying. But, he was great. Played a ton of minutes. Something you just don't know from COVID. Give him credit. Clearly, he's been working out, and he showed us that."
The Magic will hope to avoid a seventh straight loss when they battle the Sixers.
Orlando fell 105-92 to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday. Wendell Carter Jr. led the way 19 points and 11 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the season.
The injury-ravaged Magic played without Cole Anthony (ankle), Mo Bamba (back), Michael Carter-Williams (ankle), Jonathan Isaac (knee), Markelle Fultz (knee) and E'Twaun Moore (knee). In addition, Terrence Ross sat out the second half with back soreness.
"That's kind of the NBA. It's going to be a lot of different scenarios thrown at you," Robin Lopez said. "You got to play through it. You got to keep playing."
The Magic dropped to an Eastern Conference-worst 4-17.
"There are no excuses, but the guys we had out there gave it everything they had," Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley said. "Cleveland did an outstanding job and stayed in attack mode the entire game."
Orlando made only 8 of 32 shots from 3-point range. More than that, the shot selection was questionable at times. With such a young group competing because of the litany of injuries, perhaps it's also understandable.
"The mental aspect of that is more important than physically being tired," Franz Wagner said. "Everybody's going to be tired in that second game. ... It's a challenge, too. I think you can take it as that. There's no reason to complain about the schedule. Everybody has to do it, and I try to take it as that."
--Field Level Media