NBA

Embiid lauds improvement from 'extremely sloppy' 76ers in series win

By Sports Desk April 29, 2022

MVP candidate Joel Embiid says the Philadelphia 76ers put in a much better effort as they defeated the Toronto Raptors 132-97 and advanced to second round of the playoffs on Thursday.

Despite playing with an injured thumb, Embiid was dominant as the Sixers took out Game 6, putting up 33 points on 12-of-18 shooting from the floor and nine-of-10 from the free-throw line, as well as adding 10 rebounds and three blocks.

The Sixers looked vulnerable after dropping two opportunities to clinch the series in Games 4 and 5, and with one possession in it on Toronto's home floor on Thursday, that feeling intensified.

Doc Rivers' side took over in the third quarter however, outscoring the Raps 37-17, with Embiid providing particular energy and coming up with two timely steals.

“We had a great practice yesterday and we needed that,” Embiid said post-game. “It was a blessing in disguise to lose those two games, because that wasn’t us.

"We didn’t play the way we wanted to. We were extremely sloppy. Tonight we wanted to come in here and play with more intensity.

"Especially me. I was really bad last game, defensively. I wanted to play with a lot of energy and be physical.”

Tyrese Maxey was dominant on the scoring end as the Sixers blew out the game and secured the series, putting up 15 of his 25 points in that third quarter.

The 21-year-old guard said post-game that Embiid provided inspiration.

“Whether we get hit in the mouth we get back up and keep fighting, and that’s what we did tonight,” Maxey said.

“Joel [Embiid] told me on the plane on the way up here, ‘We lose if we don’t be aggressive’, and that’s what I tried to do.”

Philadelphia will now face the Miami Heat for a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Related items

  • Williamson out for Pelicans’ do-or-die play-in tournament game due to hamstring injury Williamson out for Pelicans’ do-or-die play-in tournament game due to hamstring injury

    The New Orleans Pelicans will be without injured leading scorer Zion Williamson when they host the Sacramento Kings in Friday’s Western Conference play-in tournament elimination game.

    Williamson starred in his NBA postseason debut Tuesday, scoring 40 points while adding 11 rebounds and five assists in over 36 minutes of action against the Los Angeles Lakers.

    The two-time All-Star, though, missed the final three minutes of New Orleans’ 110-106 loss after injuring his left hamstring.

    Williamson tied the game at 95 with 3:19 remaining in the fourth quarter on a driving layup, but he left shortly after and headed to the Pelicans’ locker room.

    His huge performance caught the attention of Lakers superstar LeBron James.

    “He's a generational player, a generational talent. He's going to continue to get better and better,” James said. “Tonight was just a small microcosm of how great he can be, his ability to get downhill, finish vs. smalls, finish vs. bigs, taller guys, shorter guys, doesn't matter.

    “One thing about him, he's not afraid to compete. So, that's a great thing. He's a star.”

    Williamson missed plenty of time due to various injuries in his first four seasons after New Orleans selected him No. 1 overall in the 2019 NBA Draft, but he was healthy throughout the 2023-24 campaign.

    Williamson appeared in a career-high 70 contests and led the Pelicans with 22.9 points per game while averaging 5.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists.

    The winner of Friday’s matchup between New Orleans and Sacramento will capture the No. 8 seed in the West and move on to play the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs.

  • Stephen Curry included in star-studded USA basketball squad for Paris Olympics Stephen Curry included in star-studded USA basketball squad for Paris Olympics

    Stephen Curry is set to make his Olympic debut for the United States at the age of 36 after being named in the 12-strong men’s basketball squad for Paris on Wednesday.

    The Golden State Warriors guard joins three-time Olympic champion Kevin Durant and the NBA’s all-time leading scorer LeBron James in an experienced squad named by national team managing director Grant Hill.

    Durant, 35, helped Team USA to gold at each of the last three Olympics, while Los Angeles Lakers forward James, 39, will make his first appearance since London 2012, having also won gold in Beijing in 2008 and bronze in Athens in 2004.

    Besides the Phoenix Suns’ Durant, four other members of the Tokyo squad return with Miami Heat centre Bam Adebayo, Phoenix guard Devin Booker, guard Jrue Holiday and forward Jayson Tatum – both of the Boston Celtics – included.

    Los Angeles Lakers centre Anthony Davis will, like James, make his first Olympic appearance since London 2012.

    Making their debuts on the biggest international stage alongside Curry will be Minnesota Timberwolves swingman Anthony Edwards, Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton, Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard and Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, the NBA’s reigning Most Valuable Player.

    The United States have won gold at each of the last four Olympics and 16 in all, but finished a disappointing fourth at last year’s World Cup.

    Curry’s Golden State coach Steve Kerr will lead the team in Paris.

    The United States are due to start a training camp in Las Vegas on July 6 before a series of exhibition games that includes tilts against South Sudan and Germany on July 20 and 22 in London. Their opening game in Paris will be against Serbia on July 28.

  • Lakers must play 'mistake-free basketball' against Nuggets, warns James Lakers must play 'mistake-free basketball' against Nuggets, warns James

    LeBron James has warned the Los Angeles Lakers must play "mistake-free basketball" if they are to overcome the Denver Nuggets.

    The Lakers defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 110-106 on Tuesday, meaning they progress to the first round of the playoffs.

    A series against the reigning NBA champions awaits, starting on Saturday.

    And James, who finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, knows the Lakers will have to deliver a near-perfect performance.

    "It's the defending champion," James said.

    "They know what it takes. They know how to win. They've been extremely dominant on their home floor over the last few years.

    "They've got an MVP on their team. They've got a closer on their team. They've got high-level players, high-IQ players, and they've got a hell of a coach.

    "So, we have to play mistake-free basketball. Make it tough on them. They're going to try to make it tough on us, obviously.

    "But if we can play as great of a game as we can play, and they're going to play as great of a game as they play, it's going come down to one or two possessions. We'll see who executes then."

    It was put to Lakers coach Darvin Ham that there had been reports the Lakers might throw their game against the Pelicans in order to go up against either the Sacramento Kings or the Golden State Warriors in the other play-in game.

    The Kings ultimately won, and will now face the Pelicans, with the prize a matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Western Conference's No.1 seed.

    "There was a report of what?" an incredulous Ham said. "Insane asylum sources say?"

    The Lakers reached the Conference Finals last year, and Anthony Davis is confident Los Angeles are coming into their best form at the opportune moment.

    "I think we're clicking at the right time," Davis said.

    "Guys are playing well. Guys are very confident. Guys are feeling good. And we're going to need it, especially against Denver."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.