Philadelphia 76ers fans can now rejoice, and temporarily relax, as Wednesday night’s first-round series-clincher against the Washington Wizards ensured the group’s spot in the 2021 Eastern Conference Semifinals. Although one major injury concern to a certain MVP candidate will continue to be discussed ad nauseam by NBA analysts over the next 72 hours or so, the Sixers’ faithful may elect to take the next few days to push away those worries until it gets closer to tip off for Sunday afternoon’s Game One against the Atlanta Hawks.
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Among the ESPN talking heads discussing Joel Embiid’s meniscus tear recently were Mike Greenberg, Kendrick Perkins and Zach Lowe, all of whom broke down what the injury means to the Sixers’ chances against Atlanta, on Thursday morning’s edition of “Get Up”. Perkins in particular had an interesting take.
Perk Says Without Embiid 100%, Hawks Are ‘Definitely Winning This Series’
When Greenberg asked Lowe for his opinion first on what the impact of the big man’s injury had on the series outcome, here’s what he had to say.
If Joel Embiid can’t go in this series or he’s very limited, the Hawks absolutely have a chance. In fact, if he can’t go, I think they’re probably a better [bet] than 50-50 proposition to make the conference finals, which is crazy to think about. But if Joel Embiid can go and he’s 75% or more, the Sixers should win this series and go to the conference finals.
It sounds like even though Lowe would favor the Hawks in a series with a banged up Embiid, he still thinks Philly would at least have a shot of advancing without their best player at full strength, or at all. Perkins took his prediction for the Eastern Conference Semifinals to the next level.
Look, if Joel Embiid is not 100%, the Hawks [are] winning this series and here’s why. Clint Capela is a guy that flies under the radar. This is a guy that is battle-tested, that has been through multiple wars when he was with the Rockets and was facing a super-team. He is not afraid of the moment. … If Embiid is not 100%, the Hawks definitely [are] winning this series.
Perk also pointed to the Hawks’ “offensive firepower” including Trae Young, Bogdan Bogdanovic, John Collins, De’Andre Hunter and “Lemon Pepper Lou” Williams when arguing for their chances at a series win.
Perkins Knows Something About Being Unavailable for a Big Game
Though Perkins’ last NBA game came over three years ago, there may be one moment from the middle part of the 36-year-old’s career that is still fresh in the mind’s of basketball fans – and no, it’s not one of Perk’s many “Shaqtin’ A Fool” bloopers. For followers of the Los Angeles Lakers, and especially the Boston Celtics, June 15, 2010 is commonly viewed as a crucial day in Perkins’ career.
During the first quarter of Game 6 of the 2010 NBA Finals, with the Celtics a win away from their second championship win in three seasons, Perkins – then the starting center – was fighting for an offensive rebound with Andrew Bynum and Kobe Bryant. This is what transpired.
Los Angeles went on to win a 89-67 rout to knot up the series, Boston was forced to start and play a 36-year-old Rasheed Wallace over 35 minutes in place of the injured Perkins in Game Seven, and the Lakers won the title.
Coincidentally, not only are Perkins and Embiid both centers, but both were/are coached by Doc Rivers and even crazier, both of these significant injuries were to their right knees.
Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Sixers and Hawks is slated for 1 p.m. Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center.
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