PHILADELPHIA (CBS)- As time wound down Monday night in Atlanta, Sixers center Joel Embiid missed a layup that would have given the team a late lead. As a result, the Hawks took Game 4, 103-100 and tied the series at 2 games apiece. It was clear that Embiid wasn’t right throughout the night, evidenced by his 0-12 performance in the second half.
For Atlanta Hawks center Clint Capela, that was due to the team’s strategy of trying to play Embiid physically to “wear him out.” But in the process of giving that explanation, Capela might have just given the Sixers center the kind of bulletin board material he needs to bounce back in Game 5.
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Clint Capela on Joel Embiid: "Whenever you wear him out, everything becomes tougher for him. When the fatigue comes in, it's a different ballgame."
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) June 15, 2021
To an extent, Capela is right. Embiid himself admitted that the partially torn meniscus that he’s been dealing with since Game 4 of the Wizards series was bothering him Monday night.
“Even before I went back to the locker room I felt like I didn’t have it,” Embiid said. “I guess it’s already known. There’s no need to explain myself anymore. I’m just trying to do the best I can.”READ MORE: 50 Houses Without Water After Main Break In North Philadelphia
That said, Monday night’s game was the first of the series in which Embiid was held below 20 points (17) and he is averaging 30.7 and 13 rebounds per game in the series thus far.
Capela also hasn’t exactly shut Embiid down when matched up on him this series. The Sixers big man is shooting 12/12 (53.6%) good for 25 points with Capela as the primary defender in this series.MORE NEWS: 'Intoxiflation': Despite Higher Prices, Floridians Will Continue Buying Booze Over Holiday Season
While Capela and the Hawks certainly got the better of Embiid and the Sixers on Monday night, how the Sixers star reacts in Wednesday’s pivotal Game 5 will be key.