It was a night to forget for Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, who struggled on Monday night in a playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks. The superstar pivot, bothered by a lingering knee injury, went 4-for-21 from the field (including 0-for-12 in the second half) and a missed game-winning layup.
Despite only finishing with 17 points in the 103-100 loss (he averages 27.4 points per game in the 2021 NBA Playoffs), it appears that Embiid didn’t let a substandard performance bother him too much.
Especially after seeing his comedic reaction to Kawhi Leonard’s absolutely earth-scorching dunk in the Los Angeles Clippers’ blowout win over the Utah Jazz.
Joel Embiid reacted to Kawhi’s poster dunk in the middle of his post-game interview 😂😳 pic.twitter.com/SgdIBFRbHw— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 15, 2021
Embiid was originally asked a question about his knee injury, and was noting how even before Game 4 began, he felt off.
““From the beginning of the game, even before I went back to the locker room, I just felt like I didn’t have it tonight,” he said.
Then, while continuing his answer, he peered up and saw Leonard’s dunk on a screen off-picture.
Kawhi received the ball at the top of the key, blown by Royce O’Neal, and viciously leaped up-and-into Derrick Favors, dunking it with authority.
Jazz star Donovan Mitchell’s face says it all.
“And of course you can kind of—Oh my god! See that dunk? See that Kawhi dunk? Man, wow. But you could see from the beginning of the game it was tough,” Embiid continued.
While Embiid’s reaction was a brief reprieve from what otherwise was one of the worst performances in his playoff career, the entire interview was a fascinating insight into how the big man evaluates his struggles.
You can be sure he’ll come ready for Game 5 with a similar energy to Leonard’s explosive dunk.