Joel Embiid could not pass up the opportunity to suit up for Game 2 of the Philadelphia 76ers’ second-round battle against noted rivals Boston Celtics. After all, he recently just won the 2022-23 NBA Most Valuable Player honors, and he was eager to prove that he, indeed, was deserving of such a prestigious acclaim. However, despite Embiid’s return, the entire Sixers team proceeded to crap the bed.
The Sixers shot 39.7 percent from the field as a team, and an even more unsightly 20 percent from deep on 30 attempts. As a result, the Celtics ran amok, demolishing Embiid and company en route to a 121-87 victory to even up the series at one game apiece. What’s even more worrying, however, is this loss is a brutal continuation of a dispiriting trend for the 2023 MVP’s playoff history against the Celtics.
After the Sixers’ Game 2 loss, Joel Embiid has fallen to 1-9 against the Celtics for his playoff career. His only victory came on May 7, 2018, a consolation victory in a five-game series loss for Philly.
In 2020, with the Sixers having to iron out the kinks of an Embiid-Al Horford frontcourt, as well as having to deal with Josh Richardson’s underperformance, the Celtics swept them out of the first round.
Of course, it’s difficult to fault Joel Embiid too much for this most recent defeat to his white whale. Embiid tried his best to play through an LCL injury, so fans should forgive him for showing a bit of rust in his return to action. Even then, he still had five blocks, showing that he can still make a huge impact even when he’s not at 100 percent.
Meanwhile, James Harden, the star of Game 1 for the Sixers, struggled immensely. Coming off a 45-point performance, The Beard went out and shot a putrid 2-14 from the field, effectively setting the tone for a Philly squad that couldn’t seem to put the ball through the basket without having much difficulties.
At the end of the day, these historic stats don’t particularly mean anything in the grand scheme of the Sixers’ future, with there being different rosters and whatnot. But this definitely does not bode well.
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