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Welcome Back, Joel Embiid

Trust The Process.

April 20, 2018 - 11:47 am

Word started trickling out of Miami yesterday afternoon, something good could be coming. But nobody really wanted to get their hopes up, right? It’s like talking during a no-hitter. You don’t want to jinx it and then have your dreams crushed. But then it came down shortly before the game from the Philadelphia Sixers twitter account: Joel Embiid is listed as probable for tonight’s game. His playing status will be determined after pregame warmups.

Hopes got higher, dreams got bigger. Could it really happen?

And then the account tweeted out the starting lineup and Joel Embiid was in it. And all was right with the world. Joel was back. And in case you missed it, I’ll just give you the score right now so we can get that out of the way and get to the REAL: Philly won 128-108. 

Absolutely smashed Miami in the second half and took a 2-1 series lead. But as impressive as Philly’s performance was, and it was great, and as remarkable as a Embiid was after being off for a month, and he was, even better than the game was Joel talking about the game. 

But before we get into what he did last night, let’s make something clear. There is a lot at stake. There is a reason the Sixers didn’t rush him back. According to reports, he had multiple fractures of the orbital bone and it was the second time he’s suffered an injury in that area. 

So that’s why the team didn’t rush him back and why it invested so much time and energy into that incredible mask and goggle combo, testing it at the University of Pennsylvania. As Embiid told ESPN, "They [the Sixers] did everything possible. They were like throwing stuff at it to make sure it could withstand it."

Because they knew how Miami would respond. The Heat responded to Embiid’s return and to Embiid’s mask the way any NBA team would in the playoffs. They went right at it and right at him. Hitting him with double digit fouls and when the mask hit the floor, Justise Winslow stepped on it and then tried to break it.

I guess you could call that a heel move – HEYYYYYY-OOOOOOO!

But that was an awesome, old school moment. Was it the classiest thing ever? No. But it was awesome. And it wasn’t going to be enough to stop Embiid. Just ask him.

"As far as the mask, Justise stepped on it and tried to break with his hands. But little did he know we have about 50 of them. It's going to take much more than that to get me out of these series. I'm going to be a nightmare for them too."

I’m not sure what I love more: “little did he know” or “I’m going to be a nightmare for them.” Because he is. 30 minutes, 23 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks, while wearing a foggy mask that he can barely see through.

But he didn’t just bring numbers; he brought a ton of attitude. And swagger. Jo was on the bench in Game 2 and he saw Goran Dragic go in for a late layup when the game was decided. And Jo didn’t like it:  in fact, quote,  “It kind of pissed me off.” 

And he went on: “Goran didn’t get a lot of bleep about it [in the media]. I told [my teammates] if we have the chance [to keep scoring], go do the same thing. I love blowing teams out. I like the fact that we did that. We’re not here to make friends. We’re here to win a series.”

So it was personal with Goran. And with Winslow, who had a great first half, and later blocked Embiid and was then immediately blocked by Embiid at the other end.

Jo had some thoughts about that, too: "It felt great. When he blocked me I didn't say anything. Good for him. He talked a lot. On the other end, I got him back. You don't really want to talk trash to me. I'm glad I got him back."

He got all of Miami back, including draining a huge three that put Philly up by double digits with less than five minutes to go.

That’s a 7-footer with a busted eye sticking that right in your eye. And he went glass on one, where he enjoyed Miami’s reaction even more than the bucket itself: "I could see their faces when you make that kind of shot, the guys on the other end, they just go like, 'Ugh' and that's good. When you see that in their faces, that's good."

Welcome back, Joel Embiid. It is so good to Joel Embiid back where he belongs – kicking ass on the court and talking junk in the media. off. No one better than you dude. And by that, I don’t mean no one better than you on the floor, I mean no one better than you IN LIFE. And anyone who doubts that, better learn to…TRUST. THE. PROCESS.