NBA legend torn to shreds over 'ridiculous' Joel Embiid claims

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·Sports Editor
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Joel Embiid, pictured here during Game 5 between the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat.
Joel Embiid looks on during Game 5 between the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Charles Barkley is being savaged by fans and pundits after claiming Joel Embiid's sub-par performance in Game 5 against the Miami Heat was because he's 'distracted' by reports he is set to miss out on winning the MVP award.

Reports emerged this week that Denver Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic will win the top gong, meaning Embiid will miss out despite a stellar season.

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Speaking during the Philadelphia 76ers' loss to the Heat on Tuesday, Barkley said: “Joel Embiid is so distracted in my opinion by this MVP thing. He’s not there tonight.

"When you're mad about something, it can work both ways. It's working the wrong way for Joel Embiid tonight."

Playing with a broken bone in his face and torn ligament in his thumb, Embiid scored just 17 points as the Heat ran away with a 120-85 victory to take a 3-2 series lead.

James Harden only contributed 14 points and and Tobias Harris had 12, with the Sixers benching their starters with eight minutes remaining and the game out of reach.

The Sixers were down by 15 going into the fourth quarter, then gave up 12 consecutive points to open the final period.

Joel Embiid, pictured here before Game 5 against the Miami Heat.
Joel Embiid is playing with a broken bone in his face. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

NBA world rips Charles Barkley to shreds

Reacting to Barkley's comments, fans and pundits were scathing.

Adam Hermann of NBC Sports labelled them "ridiculous" and "absurd".

"While Embiid's performance was certainly disappointing, it was also kind of understandable: he's dealing with a thumb injury, an eye injury, is fresh off a concussion, and just in the first half Tuesday night appeared to hurt his back chasing a loose ball and was thwacked in that injured eye by a basketball,"

"But are those totally reasonable explanations what TNT's Charles Barkley chose to seize on? Of course not.

"Barkley decided to take a much more circuitous, asinine route during the half-time break.

"This is so, so, so stupid. Did Embiid want to win MVP? Sure. It would've been a big deal, and it would've been cool.

Charles Barkley, pictured here in 2021.
Charles Barkley's comments about Joel Embiid have been torn to shreds. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

"But Embiid has been clear, time and time again, that he cares about one thing during his time in the NBA: he wants to win a title.

"What's also clear, to everyone except Chuck, is that Embiid is struggling with the numerous physical ailments he's playing through.

"Use your brain, Chuck. I'm begging you. Embiid is giving it his all, but the guy has an individual injury list that would make the Week 13 Eagles blush."

Sixers writer Sean Barnard tweeted: "The Joel Embiid is pouting because he didn't win MVP is such a lame angle to take.

"Would think the fractured bone in his face and torn ligament in his thumb are a bit more of a concern."

Reporter Clay Ferraro wrote: "What in the world is Barkley talking about? Embiid is 'distracted' because he didn’t win the MVP? And that’s why the Sixers aren’t playing well?

"He’s 'distracted' because he’s got a broken eye, ripped up thumb, injured his back diving for a loose ball, then got hit in the face."

Jimmy Butler scored 23 points, Max Strus added 19 points and 10 rebounds, and the Heat moved one win away from a trip to the Eastern Conference finals.

Victor Oladipo also had 13 for the hosts, Bam Adebayo contributed 12 and Tyler Herro and P.J. Tucker both had 10 apiece.

The top-seeded Heat are now 6-0 at home in these playoffs.

Game 6 is in Philadelphia on Thursday (local time).

with AAP

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