Joel Embiid calls himself, teammates out following miserable Game 3 loss to the Boston Celtics
The stage was set. Joel Embiid was awarded his NBA MVP Trophy last night ahead of a pivotal Game 3 against the Boston Celtics as the Sixers looked to take a 2-1 series lead on their home court.
That of course, didn’t happen as everyone outside of Joel Embiid forgot to show up last night. The result, was a 114-102 loss to the Boston Celtics, making tomorrow’s Game 4 in South Philadelphia a must-win to keep their hopes of reaching the Eastern Conference Finals within reach.
Last night was miserable. Embiid scored 30 points with 13 rebounds and four blocks in his second game back from a sprained right knee. Unfortunately, Embiid and PJ Tucker were the only two Sixers players that actually came to play last night.
Tyrese Maxey added 13 points and six rebounds while PJ Tucker finally took some shots from beyond the arc, scoring nine points on the night.
De’Anthony Melton scored 14 points with eight rebounds while Tobias Harris added seven points and four rebounds.
James Harden had 16 points on 3-of-14 shooting from the floor with 11 assists and six rebounds. He also turned the ball over five times.
In Game 3 of the NBA playoffs, no Sixers player outside of Joel Embiid scored more than 16 points.
James Harden and Tyrese Maxey combined for a miserable 7-of-30 from the floor.
Read the Full Game 3 Recap Here >>
In the postgame, Embiid spoke to reporters and said the following sentence that sent social media up in flames.
“I think players have to show up.”
Many viewed this quote as Embiid “throwing his teammates under the bus” following Game 3 but as usual, Twitter was wrong. That really wasn’t the full statement made by Embiid and context certainly matters.
Joel Embiid on Game 3 Loss
“I think players have to show up,” Embiid said after the loss. “I gotta do my job. Other guys, everybody knows their role. They have to do their job. Players have to show up. Obviously, you can make any adjustments you want, but if the players don’t execute and they don’t show up and we don’t make shots, that’s on us. I just think that’s on us.”
“I got to be better,” Embiid added. “We all got to be better. We just haven’t been good enough the last few games. No sense of urgency, but it’s the small things. I think we’ve been fine guarding them in the halfcourt. It’s just those loose ball situations. Offensive rebounds, and then they knock down a 3 or they score off of it. It just changes everything.” via SixersWire
Okay so first of all, Embiid is 100% correct and really, if he just said the first sentence, I would have been perfectly fine with that as well.
Embiid was the only player to show up last night for the Sixers. There’s really no denying it. When not a single player from your supporting cast scores over 16 points in a very important Game 3, then yes, literally no one else showed up to play.
- James Harden: 16 PTS, 3-14 FG, 2-7 3PT, 6 REB, 11 AST
- De’Anthony Melton: 14 PTS, 4-10 FG, 4-7 3PT, 4 STL
- Tyrese Maxey: 13 PTS, 4-16 FG, 3-9 3PT, 6 REB
- Tobias Harris: 7 PTS, 3-6 FG, 4 REB
- PJ Tucker: 9 PTS, 3-4 3PT
James Harden has made just five of 28 field goals (17.9%) since scoring 45 points in Philadelphia’s Game 1 win in Boston.
That’s the worst field goal percentage over any two-game span of Harden’s career, regular season or playoffs, in which he’s attempted at least 20 field goals.
Harden followed up his Game 1 performance by shooting 5-of-28 from the floor over the last two games.
Tobias Harris, who was fantastic in the first round of the playoffs and kept things going in Game 1 against the Celtics was horrible last night and somehow only managed to take six shots.
For Tobias Harris to only take six shots while the rest of his teammates were struggling is ridiculous.
While it’s definitely not completely his fault thanks to Harden dribbling the ball around just to pass up easy layups at the basket, reminiscent of Ben Simmons agains the Atlanta Hawks, Doc Rivers and the coaching staff should have recognized that and tried literally anything else offensively to get the Sixers moving last night.
Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia’s golden child, came up small yet again last night too.
The Sixers Are Not Dead Yet
While the majority of social media last night officially buried the Philadelphia 76ers playoff hopes, that seems like a dramatic reaction.
The Boston Celtics are a very good basketball team and honestly, they are better than the Philadelphia 76ers. I think that’s pretty clear, however that doesn’t mean the Sixers can’t comeback from a 2-1 series deficit and still advance. Last night was a MISERABLE performance from the Sixers and they still had a fighting chance to win the game in the last five minutes.
Obviously, a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals is almost impossible if they have another game like last night, but hopefully it serves as a wake up call and the Sixers will tie the series up tomorrow afternoon in Game 4.
I still have this going a full seven games. The Sixers win tomorrow, lose Game 5, win Game 6 and from there, we’ll be in Boston for Game 7 where who knows what will happen.
For now, we’ll just take it one game at a time.