December 10, 2023

4th Quarter Failures — Celtics Force Game 7


Boston Celtics' Marcus Smart (36) shoots as Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid (21) watches during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference semifinal, Thursday, May 11, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The 76ers blew one of the biggest opportunities they have had in over 20 years as they lose game 6 95-86 to the Celtics. The Sixers needed their star players to show up tonight, and they neither did.

From the 5:57 mark in the 4th to the 0:22 second mark the Sixers scored just one point. Melton and Tucker missed countless amounts of wide-open threes, and Harris could not finish at the rim. There were so many opportunities for the Sixers to extend their lead, and every time they failed to do so.

This game was there for the taking, and they blew it. This series was there for the taking, and they blew it. The effort the team showed at the beginning, and end of the game were inexplainable, and now we are in a very bad spot. They need to show up and win game 7, or else there may be some major changes.

Embiid Needs to Be Better

Despite finishing with 26 points and 10 rebounds, Joel Embiid was bad on the offensive end of the floor tonight. Tonight was a chance for Joel to finally get over the hump of the second round, and he shrank in the moment. Embiid shot just 9-21 from the field, but it felt worse than that. Even though Embiid had some success getting to the line, Horford and other defenders made Embiid struggle for just about every shot. The Sixers got away from the Harden and Embiid pick and roll and their offense became predictable. Joel has been great all year, and mostly great in this series, but he has to be better in game 7, or else the Sixers have no chance.

Where Embiid does get credit is the defensive side of the court. He finished the game with 3 blocks, but he impacted countless attempts at the rim. He has been a dominant force on the defensive end all series.

Game 7 is going to show what Embiid is made of. Towards the end of the game with just under 2 minutes left, he and Harden sulked down the court and did not try for a loose ball. With a decent amount of time left on the clock that is an inexcusable effort from the face of your franchise. They both need to bring the energy on Sunday.

The Harden Rollercoaster Continues

James Harden just may be one of the most inconsistent athletes we have had in Philadelphia in a long time. You never know which version of Harden you will get on any given night. The version that showed up tonight finished with 13 points, 9 assists, and 7 rebounds. Harden shot only 4-22 from the field for 18%. That is inexcusable in a closeout game. He was great in game 1, and he was great in game 4, but we can not have our second-best player only show up in 2/6 playoff games. Game 7 is not until Sunday so there will be an extra rest day, but if he plays poorly in game 7 as well, he may be as good as gone.

What’s Next?

The Sixers will now head back to Boston for game 7 Sunday, May 14th. The Sixers have already won 2 games in Boston, but this one will be by far the hardest. The Sixers are 0-2 in game 7’s in the Joel Embiid era, but that has to change Sunday. Everyone on the Sixers need to play, and coach like their jobs are on the line, because they very much may be. If the Sixers choke away a 3-2 lead and miss the Conference Finals again, there may be some major changes in Philadelphia.

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