“Oh, my God! See that dunk?”
Everyone else had the same reaction
If Kawhi Leonard’s dunk over Derrick Favors on Monday night had occurred at a more critical juncture in a more competitive game, it would have been an iconic NBA playoff moment. But the fact that it pushed the Clippers’ lead to 24 points in a game they ended up winning easily doesn’t take anything away from how vicious a slam it was. It will probably still end up being the most impressive dunk of this postseason. (Favors clearly didn’t learn anything from watching Maxi Kleber get posterized into oblivion by Kawhi in the first round.)
This photo sums it up pretty nicely.
The dunk stopped the NBA world in its tracks. In Atlanta, where the Hawks had just defeated the Sixers, Joel Embiid was addressing the media when he saw Kawhi’s dunk on a screen out of the corner of his eye. He was trying to answer a question about how his injured knee felt in the second half but lost his train of thought when he saw what Leonard did to Favors.
“From the beginning of the game, even before I went back to the locker room, I just felt like I didn’t have it tonight,” Embiid said. “And of course you can kind of—oh, my God! See that dunk? See that Kawhi dunk? Man, wow. But you could see from the beginning of the game it was tough.”
It’s pretty funny to see Embiid’s reaction to the dunk in real time, but woven in there is a very honest evaluation of how his knee is feeling and how it’s affected his game. Embiid did collect an impressive 21 rebounds but had a lousy night on the offensive end, scoring 17 points on 4-of-20 shooting. He even blew a layup in the closing seconds that would have put the Sixers ahead.
With the Philadelphia–Atlanta series now tied at two games apiece, Embiid’s play will be crucial. Sixers fans better hope Embiid’s knee is healthy enough that John Collins doesn’t turn him into Derrick Favors.
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