MIAMI – Philadelphia 76ers superstar Joel Embiid congratulations Nikola Jokić about winning the NBA Award for Most Valuable Player for the second season in a row, adding on Tuesday night that there are no “right or wrong” answers among several deserving candidates.
But Embiid also said that, going forward, he will focus his focus only on the “bigger picture” – winning the championship.
“No,” Embiid said, when asked if he was surprised when ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday that Jokic would win the award again. “I mean, it’s something I knew a few weeks ago, even probably two weeks before the end of the season, after those games against whether it was Denver and Milwaukee, and when [ESPN did its] straw polls or whatever. I just knew it wasn’t going to happen.
“Obviously, congratulations to Nikola. He deserved it. He had an amazing season. There is no right or wrong. There were a lot of candidates. It could have gone any way. Giannis [Antetokounmpo], Devin Booker, by far the best team in the league. So I guess every year it’s about what you decide, whatever suits the narrative as to who wins. “
Embiid was one of three finalists for this award for the second year in a row, after putting together probably the best season of his career – NBA-top 30.6 points per game, with 11.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 68 games with a record 68 games.
“I’m not angry,” Embiid said he didn’t win the MVP (the NBA is expected to officially announce the winner later this week). “For two years in a row, I put myself in that position. It didn’t happen. It’s almost like, at the moment, anything. Whatever happens, happens.
“Last year I ran a campaign about it. This year I answered questions when they asked me, and in the next few years until I retire, it’s almost like … like I said, I wonder what else I have to do to win it’s, and to me it’s like, at the moment it’s like, anything.It’s all about focusing, it’s not that I wasn’t focused on the bigger picture, but you know, it’s really time to really put all my energy into the bigger picture, and that is to win the whole thing. “
Embiid was also challenged by a comment from Bill Simmons of The Ringer, who said in a podcast last month: “F — Jalen Green“when discussing Green’s possible candidacy for the rookie team while playing for the worst Houston Rockets in the league. (Simmons later tweeted explanation of his attitude).
Media members vote on NBA awards.
“What if Jalen Green was in a position to earn a supermax, or I don’t know, All-Star performance and that someone sounds like that and he has great power,” Embiid said. “[Simmons] it can affect many other members of the media
“I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t think that’s right. So that’s really all I said about those awards.”
Embiid’s hopes of winning the championship this season ran into a significant hurdle Tuesday night as the Sixers lost to the Miami Heat 120-85 in Game 5 and fell into a hole in the 3-2 series. One defeat separates them from coming out in the second round of the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons.
The 76ers looked listless from the start of the game, and everyone agreed that was the case after the game, as Miami jumped into the early lead and never looked back.
“They were much more engaged, more physically, they kicked us out of things,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said. “We have a lot of disappointments from all of us tonight.”
Added James Harden: “I don’t think we were just engaged on defense, and that slowed down our attack. We have to be engaged. We have to be locked. In the second round of the playoffs, away in game 5, it’s not good enough just to play solid. to be able to think, possession by possession, and we just haven’t combined enough thinking. “
Embiid spent a long period on the ground in the second quarter when he received a blow to the right side of his face – where he suffered a fracture during the 6th game of the Toronto series – after the Heat backup center Dewayne Dedmon hit the ball when Embiid scored the deflected ball and the ball returned to Embiid’s face.
Luckily for the 76ers, Embiid eventually got up and was examined by team doctors, and never left the game.
“I don’t think so,” Embiid said when asked if he was worried he might worsen his injury by playing through it. “Obviously I’m not a specialist, I’m just listening to doctors. I don’t think so.
“So it’s just pain tolerance. This is a lost situation for me. If I don’t play, you know, they’ll probably call me soft. If I play, and I play bad, probably say, you probably come up with a bunch of things that I guess I just it’s not good enough. So it’s just trying not to be too high or too low and just go outside and really try to dig really deep and try to do whatever I can. “
What he and the 76ers now have to do is prevent elimination at home in Game 6 on Thursday.
“I’m pretty confident,” Embiid said.
“We fell 2-0, [then] we tied him up. We have it in us. We have a lot more [to give], and I was not my own. Even in those two victories. I didn’t think I played well. I thought my presence on the field was great for us, especially in defense. But offensively, I just wasn’t aggressive. In a way, I’m not saying I want to force the problem, but I kind of let the game get to me. As you can see, they don’t let the game get to me.
“So I think, I just go back and watch a movie and I find ways to really, really be striking and try to be, try to get back to that dominant self that I can be.”