The Philadelphia 76ers entered Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series with the Miami Heat with all of the momentum. The Sixers won both Game 3 and Game 4 back in Philly. Those wins coincided with the return of All-Star center Joel Embiid.
Game 5 Tuesday was the first game of the series since the news broke that Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic was going to win NBA MVP. As the first half of the Sixers game with the Heat played out, Embiid struggled immensely. He took a shot to the face early in the game, and could not find his shot, posting only six points at halftime.
During the break, TNT analyst Charles Barkley ripped into the Sixers MVP candidate.
"When you're mad about something, it can work both ways. It's working the wrong way for Joel Embiid tonight."
Chuck sounds off on Embiid's first half performance in Game 5. pic.twitter.com/0vg0cspWaG
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 11, 2022
According to Barkley, the Sixers center was distracted in Tuesday night’s game because he did not win NBA MVP. He talked about how being angry can sometimes work against you, like it was for Embiid in Game 5.
“When you are mad about something, it can work both ways. It’s working the wrong way for Joel Embiid tonight,” Barkley said. He went on to talk about when he was playing poorly, how his teammates would tell him “you playing like crap, get your head out of your a** and play better and someone needs to tell Joel Embiid that.”
Regardless of what Barkley thinks the reason is, the fact is Embiid and the entire Sixers team is having a tough night. Philadelphia ended up being hammered, 120-85.
Embiid finished 7-for-12 shooting but for only 17 points and five rebounds. Meanwhile, the Heat had seven players in double figures as they cruise to a 3-2 series lead.