Joel Embiid Struggles Mightily In First Game Back Since MVP Award; Sixers Get Blown Out By Celtics In Game 2

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Is it too early for NBA MVP voters to get buyer’s remorse?

The voters apparently got the wrong guy (sort of) after a horrendous postseason performance by newly-named MVP Joel Embiid on Wednesday.


After missing two games due to an LCL sprain and a fresh MVP award now in his trophy case, Embiid returned to the floor in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Embiid Fails To Show Up At MVP Level

Falling 1-0 against the Embiid-less Philly team in Game 1 appeared like a lethal blow for Boston. With Sixers guard James Harden appearing to be back to vintage form, a strong Philly team welcomed back Embiid, ready to improve to 2-0.

The Celtics were in control all game, and Philly’s stars fizzled out in Game 2, as the Sixers were blown out, 121-87.

Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers shoots the ball during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

The lowlight of the evening had to be Embiid’s performance.

Just a day after his MVP coronation, Embiid put up 15 points on 4 of 9 shooting — a complete failure of performance in the postseason.

Half of Embiid’s points came on free throws (7-of-8), and he was forced to sit down after 27 minutes once the game felt out of reach with eight minutes left in the fourth.

Embiid’s stats were superbly efficient this regular season, but the all-around game by Denver’s Nikola Jokic continues to pose questions surrounding Embiid’s MVP.

Whether it’s being hindered by the LCL sprain or just a night where the big man got out-muscled, the optics were terrible for the newly-crowned Embiid.

Sixers In Disarray Against Celtics

What Embiid couldn’t take the blame for was the Celtics’ exceptional night from beyond the arc. The Celtics knocked 20 of 51 three-point attempts, shooting 39.2 percent. It was Boston’s night from downtown, putting the onus on Embiid and Harden to match the Celtics’ hot offense.

Harden wiped all confidence in seeing a classic version of himself in this series. The 10-time All-Star appeared back at his peak on Monday, tying his postseason high of 45 points to upset Boston. In Game 2, Harden reverted to his inconsistent self: scoring 12 points on a dreadful 2 of 14 shooting.

Derrick White of the Boston Celtics defends James Harden (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Fans will be left to wonder if the MVP award was truly a sympathy trophy by the voters, should Embiid lose this series and Jokic advance in his respective series against the Suns.

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Written by Alejandro Avila

Alejandro Avila lives in Southern California and previously covered news for the LA Football Network. Jeopardy expert and grumpy sports fan that has watched every movie.

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