Philadelphia 76ers: It’s time for Joel Embiid to “win a ——- title”

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

It’s time for Joel Embiid to make good on his Philadelphia 76ers title declaration.

In mid-January, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid stated the following in his first-person article in The Players’ Tribune: “I’m done with trash talking and the memes and all that… Once I’m holding that trophy in my hands, maybe I’ll be back to my charming self. For now, I got one thing on my mind. I’m not trying to win a debate. I’m trying to win a ——- title.”

Talk that talk, Embiid, because now is your time. Today marks the start of the 2020 NBA Playoffs and the 76ers tip-off at 6:30 in their first-round match-up against the Boston Celtics.

During the regular season, and playing with a healthy Embiid and Ben Simmons, the Sixers won the series 3-1 against the Celtics. But unfortunately this time around, it may not be as easy for the Sixers in their playoff series versus the C’s, as they’ll be without their All-Star point guard for the remainder of the season.

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When news broke last week that Ben Simmons will undergo surgery “to remove a loose body in his left knee” it created a significant impact on the team’s starting five. Head Coach Brett Brown made the adjustment and inserted Al Horford into the starting lineup. As surprising as Horford was in his role, the Sixers finished the remaining five-game slate with a record of 2-3 – beating the eighth-seed Orlando Magic, as well as winning the in-profitable game against the Houston Rockets, and losing to three red-hot teams in the bubble; the Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, and Toronto Raptors.

…You may be asking: is there any good news to this?

Of course – it’s that the regular season is behind us and that anything is possible in playoff basketball. The NBA bubble has proven itself through its multiple storylines, i.e. the Phoenix Suns falling short of making playoffs after finishing 8-0 in the NBA bubble, TJ Warren’s 34.8 ppg average, or Damian Lillard carrying the Blazers into playoffs – it would only be typical Philly-fashion if the Sixers won the 2020 NBA Championship, and added to the storybook ending.

If one can recall, in 2011, the Miami Heat finished off the 76ers in Game 5 of the first-round series, and in an interview after the game, LeBron James said the following: “playoff sweat is different than regular season sweat.” Aside from the literal meaning of his statement, LeBron is right.  Playoffs require more intensity, more energy (both physically and mentally), etc. because you know what’s at stake.

…Maybe, just maybe, this should be the Sixers locker room mantra.

For the players, and especially for the fans, try to block out everything that’s happened in the 2020 season. Forget Horford’s abysmal season, the COVID-19 pandemic, the loss of Simmons, and the calls to fire Brett Brown. If Embiid claims that he’s the “best player in the world”, and if the Sixers want to prove that they can win without Simmons, then now’s the time.

At the end of The Players’ Tribune article, Embiid said: “We’re going to get this thing right. And we’re going to be a problem in the playoffs, I promise you.”

…We hope you’re right Jo. It’s been a turbulent year, and although we can’t provide the energy at Wells Fargo Center, our presence will still be felt 980 miles away. Through thick and thin, the City of Brotherly Love has this teams back. And in the end, even if we don’t make a deep playoff push, or win the championship, it’s been enjoyable to see the NBA resume its 2020 season.

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So Philadelphia 76ers fans – set your alarms, get your jerseys ready, find the comfy spot on the couch, and “let’s go win us a ——- title.