The Philadelphia 76ers’ championship dreams came crashing down as they suffered a crushing loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The defeat left star center Joel Embiid and his teammates contemplating their shortcomings and striving for ultimate success.
Despite leading the series 3-2, the 76ers faltered in the decisive game, succumbing to the Celtics in a disappointing 88-112 defeat on the road. Embiid, who was recently crowned the NBA MVP, had an off night, contributing just 15 points on 5-of-18 shooting.
With just under four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the 76ers faced an insurmountable deficit (78-108), leading to Embiid’s early exit from the game. When asked about his thoughts during that moment, Embiid provided an insightful response. “I just told myself not to overreact,” he admitted.
“Like I said, it doesn’t matter where you lose, you don’t get the trophy for being second or third, or fourth, or fifth, or sixth. It doesn’t matter if you’re losing the first round, finals. There’s one only team that wins. If you didn’t accomplish that, are you going to be happy for being second? I’m not. To me, if I don’t finish first, it is a failure. So the rest doesn’t really matter.”
Embiid’s words reflect his unwavering commitment to achieving the ultimate goal of winning an NBA championship. While the individual accolades and personal achievements hold significance, the MVP center’s primary focus remains on securing the coveted title for his team and the city of Philadelphia.
The loss to the Celtics marks another disappointing end to the season for the 76ers, who have not advanced to the Conference Finals since 2001. As the offseason looms, the organization faces crucial decisions and adjustments to strengthen their roster and elevate their playoff performance.
Embiid’s determination to bring glory to the 76ers shines through his words. He acknowledges the challenges and heartbreak of falling short but dismisses the notion of finding solace in mere participation. “I don’t think I would have been happier going to the Finals and losing,” Embiid stated. “I don’t think I would have been proud of myself.”