Joel Embiid's contributions, or lack thereof, resulted in an embarrassing 120-85 loss for the Philadelphia 76ers to the Miami Heat. TV personality Stephen A. Smith is distraught with Embiid's role in the loss.
Despite going 2-0 down, Embiid returned in Game 3 and led the Sixers to two consecutive wins at home in the Eastern Conference semifinals. However, they fell apart last night as they were decimated by the Heat.
On ESPN's "First Take" with Molly Qerim and special guest John Salley, Stephen A. revisited Embiid's Game 5 performance. Smith was shocked by the lackluster attitude the big man played with, stating:
"Where the hell is all this victimization come from? Weeks ago people don't like him.... You know, he doesn't know what else he needs to do. First of all, I voted for him, several people voted for him for league MVP.
"Last night was one of the most anemic performances we've ever seen from him. Because usually the anemic play is going on around him while he's doing his thing, but other people ain't showing up.
"Last night, collectively, it was like he didn't show up and everybody followed his lead and decided not to show up too."
It was the Philadelphia 76ers' worst display this season, as they all looked dead in the water. They lost their opportunity to go ahead for the first time in the series and are at risk of getting eliminated in Game 6.
Will Doc Rivers remain the Philadelphia 76ers' head coach after another unsuccessful season?
For the Sixers to advance to the conference finals, they will need to win their next two games against a defensively stout Miami team. To achieve that, every player will have to lock in and be 100% different from what they displayed in Game 5.
However, another second-round exit might lead to the sacking of coach Doc Rivers. Last season, the Sixers collapsed against the Atlanta Hawks at the same stage of the playoffs.
The front office has done enough to put together a team that can contend. They were on an incredible run before James Harden's arrival, an All-Star caliber player who was supposed to help their championship campaign.
So far, Harden has not exactly lived up to expectations, having more off days than on. Nonetheless, the former league MVP is eligible for a contract extension. Whether he should be offered that deal based on his recent performances has been a topic of debate in recent weeks.
If the Sixers fail to make it to the next stage, there is a high chance that the veteran coach might lose his job. Reports suggest that the LA Lakers are interested in acquiring Rivers if he is available during the offseason.