Following the Philadelphia 76ers’ disappointing blowout loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the comments of Joel Embiid about the game left Damian Lillard taken aback.
Despite being awarded the Most Valuable Player, Embiid struggled, recording just 15 points on a 5-18 shooting performance when the season was on the line. In his post-game interview, Embiid acknowledged the need for personal improvement but also expressed that he couldn’t carry the team by himself. Lillard, upon reading the comments on Twitter, was visibly displeased.
Huh ? https://t.co/asvJnAzHlr
— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) May 15, 2023
Embiid’s statement about not being able to single-handedly carry the team surprised Lillard, who responded with a simple “Huh?” on social media. Lillard’s reaction stemmed from his understanding that the Philadelphia star had been recognized as the league’s MVP, and such a remark seemed contradictory to the expectations associated with that title.
The Trail Blazers, on the other hand, finished a disappointing 13th in the Western Conference, far from playoff contention.
The comments of Joel Embiid about the future, particularly about his teammate James Harden, also caught attention. While acknowledging the unfinished business and their potential to win, Embiid left the decision-making to the front office regarding contract extensions and options. Lillard’s response seemed to imply confusion over Embiid’s stance, given the need for personal accountability in leading a team to success.
As the Celtics move forward to face the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, and the Lakers prepare to take on the Denver Nuggets in the West, both series serving as rematches from the 2020 NBA Bubble playoffs, Lillard’s questioning of Embiid’s comments adds another layer of intrigue to the ongoing postseason narrative.
Joel Embiid MVP Status Under Scrutiny After Disappointing Game 7 Performance
Embiid’s MVP status came under scrutiny following his lackluster performance in Game 7 of the playoffs. Despite winning the MVP award convincingly, he struggled to make an impact against the Boston Celtics, scoring a mere 15 points on 5-of-18 shooting. Meanwhile, Jayson Tatum stole the show with a record-breaking 51-point performance, exposing Embiid’s difficulties in delivering when it matters most. This disappointing display raises questions about his ability to rise to the occasion and perform at an elite level in crucial playoff moments.
While injuries and physical limitations may have played a role in Embiid’s subpar performance, the concerns run deeper than that. Throughout his career, Embiid has faced criticism for his reliance on drawing fouls and getting to the free-throw line, a strategy that becomes more challenging in the playoffs due to increased physicality and officials adjusting their calls.
Additionally, his mid-range shooting, when not on target, leaves him vulnerable and lacking versatility in adjusting his offensive approach. The pressure is mounting for Embiid to prove that he can thrive in high-stakes situations and lead his team to postseason success, as the MVP honor amplifies expectations and intensifies the scrutiny of his playoff performances.
While Embiid’s regular-season dominance is undeniable, the lack of postseason success remains a significant blemish on his MVP resume. Despite being a force on the court, the Sixers’ star has yet to advance past the second round of the playoffs.
As the conversation shifts from his MVP triumph to playoff accountability, Embiid faces the challenge of not only silencing doubters but also proving that he can deliver when it matters most, solidifying his status as one of the league’s premier players.