Joel Embiid Says He's 'Got to Do More' After 76ers' Game 1 Loss to Celtics

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2020

Boston Celtics' Robert Williams III, left, goes up for a shot as Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid (21) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game Monday, Aug. 17, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid shouldered much of the blame following his team's 109-101 loss to the Boston Celtics in Monday's Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.

"I've got one job to do," he told reporters after the game. "To carry us. I'm going to need my teammates to help me. But I've got to do more."

Embiid's stat line of 26 points, 16 rebounds and two steals looks impressive at first glance, but he also finished with five turnovers and attempted just 15 shots from the field. The lack of shots was all the more notable because he made his first five in the opening quarter and appeared to be well on his way to a dominant game.

"It's not enough," he said. "Especially with the way I started the first quarter, I have to be more aggressive and be more assertive. Too many turnovers. It's on me."

How Embiid did figured to set the tone for the 76ers considering they are relying on him even more than usual with Ben Simmons sidelined by an injury. Boston also has a frontcourt of Daniel Theis, Robert Williams III and Enes Kanter, all of whom fall short of the standard Embiid sets as a three-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA selection.

To the Sixers' credit, they went on a 13-0 run to end the third quarter and take the lead all with Embiid on the bench. Five players finished in double figures, but it still wasn't enough to overcome the duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Tatum (32 points and 13 rebounds) and Brown (29 points, six rebounds and three steals) torched Philadelphia's defense with a combination of floaters, three-pointers, solid defense and timely drives, and the latter poured in 15 points in the fourth quarter alone with the game on the line.

Game 2 in the series is Wednesday, and it appears as if Embiid will be even more motivated to outplay Boston's impressive duo and prevent the 76ers from falling behind 2-0.