Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith are not letting Joel Embiid off the hook for his poor Game 4 on Sunday despite an illness.
Following the Denver Nuggets’ 116-112 win in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals on TNT, the studio crew came on for some analysis. They began talking about the Philadelphia 76ers’ 101-96 loss to the Toronto Raptors in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals earlier in the day. Embiid scored just 11 points in 35 minutes as he battled fatigue from an illness.
Charles Barkley said Sixers coach Brett Brown should have adjusted for the big man’s injury, especially after receiving a text message from the star early in the morning saying he was sick. Shaq and Kenny didn’t care.
“I’ve seen superstars have great sick games. Maybe he was sick, maybe he wasn’t. This ain’t the time to be sick. When you step on the court this time of year, this is where you make your fame,” Shaq said.
Kenny Smith agreed and brought up Michael Jordan’s flu game.
“If you’re on the floor, this is how we evaluate you: what did you do?” Smith said.
Even when Barkley noted that Embiid didn’t have anything in the tank, Shaq said “I don’t care.”
This was quite the turnaround for Embiid considering it was only Thursday that an analyst was talking about the Sixers big man becoming an all-time great. Illness or not, he has three games left to make sure his team advances. The series is now tied 2-2.