Joel Embiid wasn’t impressed by the TD Garden crowd during Monday night’s Game 1. Even though he led all players in points and rebounds, Embiid wasn’t impressed with his own performance, either.
“[The crowd] was okay,” he said, after his 31-point, 13-rebound night. “I think our fans are louder than that.”
Embiid held up his end of the bargain on offense against the Celtics in Boston’s 117-101 win, but struggled on the other end of the floor and did not have any of his trademark blocks. The 76ers center said the team wasn’t like themselves on defense, but didn’t blame the performance on their five-day hiatus.
“You can’t blame that on being rusty or rest,” Embiid said. “I mean we’re NBA players, we’re in the playoffs. We got to be ready for every game. We weren’t ready tonight, so on Thursday we have to do a better job.”
One of the highlights of the game came in the last minute of the third quarter, when Marcus Smart, 6-foot-4, leaped above the 7-footer and ripped down a rebound. He immediately went back up with the ball, drew the foul, and watched the shot drop through the net.
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It was an unlikely moment, and one Philadelphia coach Brett Brown would probably point to as evidence that his players simply didn’t meet their usual standards. But after the game, he was careful to acknowledge the role Brad Stevens played in creating that problem for him.
“Defensively, offensively, this isn’t who we are. This was a very poor game for us and I give the Celtics a lot of credit for producing that. This isn’t who we are.”
For his part, Embiid said he’s excited to see what type of adjustments Brown will make for Thursday’s Game 2. He won’t be taking any solace in his own Game 1 stats, since the team fell short in the only one that matters.
“I mean, I feel like I got everything that I wanted and I took advantage of that,” Embiid said. “I took advantage of them letting me play one-on-one. But the story of the night is that we lost, so we can’t really look at my performance and say I did good. I mean, we lost, so it doesn’t matter. We just have to turn our eyes on to the next one.”