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Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid noticeably had a lack of energy during Tuesday’s 120-85 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
After the game, Embiid told reporters that he felt he had the right mindset for the matchup, but his body didn’t cooperate amid his multiple ailments.
“There’s a lot going on. Sometimes your body, and whatever that’s going on, as you know, just won’t allow you to just be yourself,” Embiid said. “In those moments, you’ve just gotta keep pushing and hope for the best.”
Embiid led the Sixers with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting in the blowout loss, which put Philadelphia in a 3-2 hole. Throughout the broadcast, the commentary wondered if Embiid’s lack of energy was tied to Nikola Jokic reportedly being named NBA MVP for the second straight season.
However, Embiid was more likely hindered by the injuries that have plagued him throughout this postseason. He’s dealt with a concussion, facial fracture and injuries to his hand and wrist. Tuesday’s game was also a very physical contest that saw Embiid hit the floor multiple times.
nick wright @getnickwright
The idea that Embiid picked this game, all of a sudden, to be mad about the MVP voting is utterly ludicrous.
He’s as media engaged as any player in the league, he’s known for weeks he wasn’t winning.
Maybe it’s his broken face + concussion + torn up wrist, not him pouting???
Embiid wasn’t the only Philadelphia player to struggle on Tuesday. James Harden followed up a 31-point performance in Game 4 with just 14 points. Tobias Harris added 12, and Tyrese Maxey had nine points on 2-of-10 shooting.
The Sixers allowed the Heat to shoot a blistering 53.6 percent from the field. Miami also out-rebounded Philadelphia 46-36.
“They were just more physical,” Philadelphia head coach Doc Rivers said after the game. “We didn’t run anything. We didn’t run our stuff very well. We played at a snail’s pace … everything they did tonight was harder and better. Their stuff was better, their energy was better.”
The Sixers will look to avoid being eliminated from the postseason on their home floor on Thursday.