Joel Embiid Dominates Celtics Following Criticism from Shaq and Barkley

Joel Embiid listened to some tough public criticism from a pair of NBA legends, largely agreed with it, then went out Thursday night and obliterated the Boston Celtics.

Embiid said Charles Barkley and his “Inside the NBA” co-host Shaquille O’Neal were right to say he needs to be much more aggressive on the floor.

“I mean, that’s what they do. Maybe they’re right,” Embiid said Thursday after shootaround at TD Garden.

“I do think they’re right. I need to be more aggressive, just look to impose myself, just look to dominate. I think the whole season I haven’t done that and you can see the way it’s affected my efficiency and my stats, so I guess I need to go back to having fun and just dominate. But I get what they’re saying and I think they’re right. I’ve got to make a change.”

The 25-year-old All-Star center vowed to dominate before erupting for 38 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in the Philadelphia Sixers’ 115-109 road win.

Per The Philadelphia Inquirer:

He dialed O’Neal’s number. He assured the Hall of Famer that he was not mad. And then he asked for advice.

“I just wanted to talk to him,” Embiid said. “I’ve been kind of frustrated. … He was just telling me, ‘Be aggressive. You’re the guy. So just go out there and dominate.’”

Instead of proving his critics wrong, Embiid proved them right.

“For them to say that I have the potential to be one of the best players in the world and I haven’t shown that and I should be already showing it, that says a lot,” Embiid said. “They’ve been there, they’ve done it, they’re Hall of Famers. It just shows me I have to play harder and dominate like I can.”

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