Christmas 2018 didn’t only feature the rivalry of LeBron James and Golden State Warriors but also the battle between the two NBA teams who are emerging as the top favorites to fully dominate the Eastern Conference in the 2018-19 NBA season — the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers. The Celtics and the Sixers gave fans a gift by showing an intense matchup from first to fourth quarter.
However, when the game was sent to overtime, the Celtics pulled away and defeated the Sixers, 121-114 overtime. All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving reached another career-milestone after finishing the game with 40 points and 10 rebounds on 51.5 percent shooting from the field and 50.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Joel Embiid acknowledged Irving’s incredible performance, especially on the offensive end of the floor, but he strongly believes that the outcome of the game would be different if he gets more ball possessions in the fourth quarter and overtime.
“I felt like I could have done more,” Embiid said, via Yahoo Sports. “I didn’t get the ball. The ball didn’t find me in the fourth and in overtime. In those situations, I gotta show up, but then also I gotta be put in the right situations to help the team, and I felt like I wasn’t in the right situations.”
Joel Embiid started the game strong, posting 28 of his 34 points in the first three quarters. However, Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens found a way to limit Embiid’s production by making a huge adjustment with their defense. Embiid thinks his teammates should still have fed him the ball no matter how many players are guarding him.
“Doesn’t matter,” Embiid said. “I think everybody knows I’m a willing passer, that I’m not selfish. I’m gonna get guys involved. It doesn’t matter if they send a double- or triple-team, which I see a lot.”
After the Sixers' loss to the Celtics, Joel Embiid said he ‘didn’t get the ball’ enough late in the game. What does that mean for Brett Brown? | David Murphy https://t.co/tHu9m4xx5s
— Philly.com (@phillydotcom) December 26, 2018
It’s easy to understand why Joel Embiid was very frustrated with their recent loss to their Eastern Conference rivals. Despite the acquisition of Jimmy Butler, Embiid still sees himself as one of the Sixers’ go-to guys. Sixers Head Coach Brett Brown admitted that, as of now, they are yet to figure out how to maximize the talent of their best player in close games.
Luckily, the Sixers still have plenty of time to improve their current performance and chemistry before the real battle begins in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Butler has undeniably boosted the Sixers’ performance on both ends of the floor, but the departure of Robert Covington and Dario Saric deeply hurt them in terms of floor spacing. The Sixers may have three All-Stars on their roster, but those players aren’t efficient three-point shooters.
If they are serious about winning the NBA championship title this season, the Sixers should find a way to address the issues on their roster as quickly as possible.