Ben Simmons, Sixers react to Joel Embiid’s struggles in loss to Hawks

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The Philadelphia 76ers have been counting on superstar big man Joel Embiid to come through when the games matter the most all season. Consistently, he has done so as he has stepped up to the challenge on a nightly basis.

However, he was not able to do so on Monday when he had 17 points, but he shot just 4-for-20 and he was 0-for-12 in the second half. The Sixers fell to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 4 of their Round 2 series 103-100 and the series is now 2-2 heading back to the City of Brotherly Love.

Afterward, Embiid did admit that the knee is bothering him a bit, but he has been dealing with the meniscus tear for a little while now and he was dominant in the games before. Monday was just an off night.

“He missed good looks,” said Ben Simmons. “It happens, it is what it is. We got to help him out and make it easy on him. Get open when they send the doubles and finish stuff. It happens. Next game.”

Embiid had a lot of good looks in the second half that he just was not able to finish. He had a nice move in the post that allowed him to get an open look at the basket, but he could not finish. He was able to do so earlier in this series, but the pain in his knee was clearly bothering him.

“It felt like maybe he was pressing maybe a little bit,” said Seth Curry. “Just a bad half and we just got to bounce back next game. He was good in the first half doing a lot of stuff offensively and defensively, but second half, he missed some of the shots that he makes unusually and our offense wasn’t as good so he wasn’t getting as good a spot. Like I said, as a team, we gotta look at the tape, and be better next game.”

Coach Doc Rivers also called a nice play to go for the win with Embiid rolling with Tobias Harris and he was able to get a good look, but even that one fell off for him. The layup would have given the Sixers the lead late.

“We got a good look on the pick-and-roll,” said Harris. “It didn’t fall, he didn’t have his best night offensively, but he has some big defensive plays for us. I’m not out there critiquing his movements and how he’s looking off one leg or the other, I’m out there just trying to play basketball.”

The question then becomes if Embiid was right, would he have finished that play and give the Sixers the lead like he normally does?

“I can’t say, I really can’t,” said Rivers. “To me, the game should have never come to that point.”

Rivers is right about that. The Sixers held an 18-point lead before the Hawks chipped away and got themselves back in the game. Embiid’s poor shooting in the second half did not help things.

“There’s no excuses,” said Embiid. “I got to be better…It was a tough loss. A big lead, that was a blown opportunity, but it happened. You can’t change it. Gotta move on into Game 5.”

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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