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Giannis Antetokounmpo has started superbly this season
  1. NBA

NBA - US Sports: Butler wants Embiid challenge

Philadelphia 76ers will be without Joel Embiid for Game 3 of their series against Miami, but Heat star Jimmy Butler hopes the MVP candidate will return soon.

Miami hold a 2-0 series lead in the best-of-seven encounter ahead of Friday's third clash. The Heat are 10/11 to win Game 3 with a -3 handicap in the Point Spread and Philadelphia are 13/10 to win in the Money Line.

76ers struggling without MVP candidate

Embiid is yet to feature in the second round series after suffering a right orbital fracture and concussion in the Sixers' final game of their first-round encounter with Toronto Raptors.

Philly have struggled in his absence, losing both games in Miami and they have been outscored by 30 points in total across the two games.

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Embiid is one of three nominees for this year's MVP award, alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets' reigning MVP Nikola Jokic.

Butler full of praise for rival

The Heat could wrap up a 4-0 series win without having to face off against Embiid if he continues to be unavailable, but Butler is desperate for a chance to take on his pick for the MVP award during the playoffs.

 "I want to compete against him," said Butler, via The Herald. "They are a completely different team whenever he is out there on the floor, both offensively and defensively. We are looking forward to that."

He added: "Whenever he is on the floor, they are a much better team. I want him to get right because I want to play against who I call the MVP."

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