Joel Embiid’s Comment, Bulls Need a Superstar, Ja Morant Suspended, and Other Bulls Bullets
I present to you, the stretch that decided the Eastern Conference Finals:
- I couldn’t have been more excited for the second half of the Celtics-76ers. Currently on the road with my fiancee to visit with some family, I made sure to find my way in front of a TV by the time the 3rd quarter tipped off. And the following 12 minutes of action couldn’t have been more lopsided. Boston outscored Philly 33-10 in the 3rd quarter and ended the game in what felt like a blink of an eye. The entire final frame was like observing someone watch their own death, as the 76ers couldn’t have looked more eager to leave the TD Garden.
- All things considered, I’m not sure if Jayston Tatum and the Celtics dominated or if Joel Embiid and the 76ers imploded. I guess it can be a little bit of both, right? There is no denying that Tatum had one of the best individual elimination game performances the league has ever seen, scoring a record-breaking 51 points to mark the most ever in a Game 7. He rose to the occasion and did what a superstar is supposed to do on that stage. Meanwhile, Philly shot an abysmal 37.3 percent from the field and 8-37 from downtown. They went just 3-21 in that 3rd quarter. I don’t care how well the other team is playing, when you have Embiid and James Harden on your team, that’s not supposed to happen.
- Speaking of which, my brain broke when I saw what Joel Embiid said after suffering yet ANOTHER Game 7 loss:
“You can’t win alone. I can’t win alone. Me and James, we just can’t win alone,” Embiid told reporters. “That’s why basketball is played 5-on-5, so we just need everybody to try to keep getting better and we’ll be fine.”
- Now, in all fairness to Embiid, he does preface this remark by saying he needs to be better and that he will be better. But …. maybe stop there? While I get the sentiment that everybody as a collective needs to play a role in a team’s success, your stars also have to be your stars. Embiid and Harden combined for just 24 points on 8-29 shooting. Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey combined for more points. The role players weren’t the problem.
- HoopsHype released a new list of players with the highest winning percentage in the postseason … can you guess who leads the pack? After Klay Thompson and Draymond Green lost in Game 6 to the Lakers, the former Chicago Bull Ron Harper has reclaimed the throne. A champion with the Bulls and Lakers, Harper has an individual postseason of 77-35. Dennis Rodman sits second on the list thanks to his time between the Pistons and Bulls with a 115-53 record. You can see the full list here.
- Whether it be watching Nikola Jokic, Jimmy Butler, or Jayson Tatum, these playoffs have left me thinking one thing over and over again: The Chicago Bulls need a superstar. Look, I’m a Zach LaVine fan. I still think he is an All-Star-caliber player who can be a valuable piece on a winning team. But we can’t sit here and claim that he’s a top-15 player in the NBA right now. And, well, that’s basically what you need to give yourself any chance of competing for a championship.
- Here’s a list of recent champs in order: Curry, Giannis, LeBron, Kawhi, Duncan, Nowitzki, Kobe, Garnett, and Wade. Those are all truly iconic names. I know I’m not saying anything new here, but it’s just a reminder of how hard it is to win without a truly legendary name at the helm of your team. The last organization to pull it off without that was probably the Pistons in 2004.
- So … how can the Bulls acquire that superstar? Great question. I think that’s a conversation we can save for another day. I think there are multiple ways to set yourself up well for a chance to open a real championship window.
- Ja Morant did it again. The Grizzlies superstar was spotted in an Instagram Live video flashing another weapon. The Memphis organization has now suspended him from all team activities, and the NBA said they are investigating the situation. With this being a second-time offense, I wouldn’t be shocked if a lengthy league suspension is coming his way.
- Lots of primetime!