EAST SEMIFINALS | CELTICS at SIXERS | GAME 4 | TONIGHT, 6 | TNT
Standing 7 feet, 2 inches, and weighing 270 pounds, he, amazingly, remains invisible.
Doesn’t matter the situation, the stakes or his all-too-often Bambi-on-ice footwork. Whenever criticism or complaint arises among the Sixers faithful, the masses, including the Philly media, somehow don’t see Joel Embiid factoring into the equation.
He just – poof – disappears from their thought process.
Nothing more than a puff of smoke for the haters to chase and never find.
It’s a remarkable, blinders-wearing psyche that seems to permeate the city and beyond.
The big fella can do no wrong … no matter how much wrong he does.
Or, at worst, he is so impractically forgiven that whatever turnover, errant shot or bonehead decision he makes is deemed unworthy of mention, never mind – gasp – accountability.
Yes, all hail the self-anointed “Process” and whatever tripping over his own feet fate await.
Sorry, no can do on that here. Won’t be joining the non-stop hero worship because, gee, we’ve had it tough, so we gotta cling onto something or someone – at all costs. Even at the expense of reality.
Just not gonna happen.
Look, got no issue with head coach Brett Brown taking most of the heat for the team’s 0-3 nosedive in the current best-of-7 Eastern Conference semifinals of the NBA playoffs against Boston. Or Ben Simmons being next in line on the bitchin’ chopping block.
But ripping the likes of all-out, balls-out J.J. Redick, Marco Belinelli or no-minutes Markell Fultz while excusing Embiid?
Gimme a freakin' break.
Yo, Brown has been brutal in this series. Simmons, too.
Guess what – so has Embiid.
That godawful, lazy inbounds pass by Simmons with 5.5 seconds to play in Game 3 Saturday didn’t exactly have Celtics steal, foul and two Al Horford free throws to set the final margin of 101-98 rubber-stamped on it. No, Embiid’s outta-gas, ridiculous “sitdown like I’m accepting an entry pass to the post” attempt to grab the ball made certain of that.
Frankly, everyone’s favorite tweeter was an albatross to the Sixers’ effort the entire overtime. In that extra five minutes, Embiid committed three personals, missed two shots, had one blocked by Horford, got caught in a switch that allowed the Celtics to grab the lead right before that end-game dagger and threw the ball away on another possession. No points. But he did pull down one offensive rebound.
Wow. Almost sounds like time for some confetti.
Not for nothing, Jo-Jo Nation, but your guy shot 10-for-26 in the contest just two days after going 8-for-22 in a Game 2 loss in Boston. Heck, he’s shooting just 42.6 percent from the floor in this, his first postseason. Not to mention an absolutely dreadful 18.8 percent from beyond the arc.
Umm, why in Wilt Chamberlain’s name is he even out there anyway?
Enough already with the excuses about youth or injury or facemask or whatever else comes down the pike. Wake up out there. That’s all part of the Embiid package.
Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. Nor does rationalizing it make it lessen in terms of impact.
Yeah, got it. He does some great things. In some games he does a lot of great things, in fact.
But his game, and effort, also shows massive holes at times, due to lack of conditioning, bad luck, massive ego and the most undeniably maddening combo of athleticism and awkwardness the eyes behind this ramble have ever seen.
It’s not invisible, people. It’s there.
Right there, produced in the flesh, all 7-2, 270 pounds of it.
A consistent rumbling, bumbling, stumbling exercise of dribbling the ball off sneaker tops to match every wondrous display of power with a thunder dunk.
Just a reminder, Sixers fans: Fault, thy name is Embiid, too. Not just Brown or Simmons or someone else.