76ers implode, surviving teams riddled with injuries, and all eyes on KD.
In today’s episode, Michael and Chris recap Philadelphia’s epic Game 5 meltdown against the Hawks, discuss how injuries are impacting the NBA playoffs, and go over several coach and executive firings from earlier in the week. THEN, in honor of Kevin Durant’s magical Game 5 on Tuesday night, the guys rank their five favorite individual playoff performances. Who’s number one? LeBron? Durant? Listen and find out!
Michael Pina: We will start with this email from our listener, Drew, who is a Sixers fan, who is pretty sad right now. Drew wrote in late last night. “Guys, I am currently leaving the stadium from the Sixers’ Game 5, and that was just unbelievable. Should I be grateful that Simmons didn’t somehow make a negative amount of free throws? Or what about grateful that Tobias Harris didn’t make a negative number of shots? Anyways, what do you think we can get for either of those guys on the trade market? Because I’m willing to package them for Tacko Fall at this point. Yearning for Jimmy Butler – Drew.” Drew, thank you for that very painful email. I’m sure it was tough to write. We appreciate it, though. You know, Chris, we don’t need to get too into the weeds with trade talks right now because this series is obviously still going on. That was only Game 5. Game 6 is in Atlanta on Friday night. And the Sixers, even though they blew that game, did have a 26-point lead in the second half and are very good. So I guess I’ll just point it to you like this: Just how devastating was that loss for Philadelphia? And what were you kind of thinking to yourself as you were watching them implode last night?
Chris Herring: So this was one of the games where I saw what happened before I watched the game, I’m in the process of moving into a condo and taking care of all that stuff. So I had checked in on different points in the game to just see what the score was. And I was like, “OK, I’m not missing much for the first half, maybe even a little bit in the third quarter, I’m not missing much. I’m going to go back and watch clips of this game and the sequences. But I don’t need to watch the whole thing.” After I got home and saw what the score was and what the final score was, I was like, “Oh, I’m going to have to go back and watch this whole game. How the hell did this happen?” And it’s crazy to think that for how crazy Game 4 was with an 18-point lead that they blow. And Embiid may be playing as badly as we’ve seen—really ever in the second half of that game, to then watch Game 5 and it’s even worse—as far as just how much they imploded. And I think Ben Simmons said it best where he was like, that was a pretty devastating loss. Like there’s really no way around that, particularly when they were up by that much in Game 4. And so now they still might be the better team in the series, but even if they take a big lead in Game 6, particularly on the road since they just blew that one. You can’t imagine that there’s a lead that they feel comfortable and confident with. Like, it has to shake your confidence at some point when you basically blow two 20-point leads in a row. And I mean to the person who emailed. Yeah, I mean, Tobias Harris has had moments where he’s been fantastic this postseason. It’s one thing for Ben Simmons to be Ben Simmons and only take four shots or three shots, or whatever he’s going to take. To get that sort of performance out of Harris, when Curry is playing out of his mind, I think that’s one of the more disheartening things. It’s like you actually have that guy now, that can knock down shots and you’re still kind of dealing with this lack of scoring from everybody else, even when you have him doing that. So I don’t know what to make of them. I mean, it was a devastating loss. Atlanta showed themselves to be on relatively even footing, obviously, in the second half, more than even footing. And they’re still not at full strength with not having Hunter. So huge win for Atlanta. You know, obviously, Philly lost that game. But Atlanta, I’ve said it a lot of times this postseason, they don’t really play like a team that hasn’t been here before—in terms of the ability to do that two games in a row, in a really hostile environment that they played in. And they got to play these teams on the East Coast, you know, in the Northeast where the fans are just really hostile. So complete props to them because I know obviously, we’ll talk about it from the standpoint of Philly. But Atlanta continues to impress me at a time where I thought that they’re basically done in the series. Clearly, they weren’t, and now the onus is on Philly to make something happen.
Michael Pina: Yeah, I’m glad that you shouted out Atlanta in your response because obviously we’re going to look at Philly for crapping the bed and they deserve a ton of criticism. That’s one of the worst losses I’ve just ever seen in my entire life. There’s really no sugar coating it. But, you know, the way that John Collins played—the banked three that John Collins had late in the fourth quarter, the bank was open for him. Good for John Collins. I thought he looked a little tentative and a little nervous earlier in this series and even earlier in the Knicks series to be honest, going back to that. And I thought he was a little bit in his head. He’s just playing free right now, really trusting his shot, attacking the offensive glass—as many pointed out in Game 4 which led them to that comeback, so shout out to him. The fact that the Hawks won this game with Bogdanović in foul trouble throughout the second half without Kevin Huerter scoring a point in the game, making a basket in the game. I just, I didn’t think that that recipe was there for them. Lou Williams was a hero, Gallinari was a hero and of course Trae Young is just, I just never want to hear anyone say that the Hawks made a mistake for trading for Trae Young. I just don’t. And I’m not saying that Trae Young is better than Luca. I just think that that conversation needs to die.