Charles Barkley on Embiid: 'Joel was distracted by MVP stuff, he came out with no energy'

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The Philadelphia 76ers were pushed to the brink of elimination on Tuesday night after a 120-85 blowout loss to the Miami Heat in Game 5.

Joel Embiid, in particular, did not have one of his typical game. While he led the team in points scored, he finished with just 17, including five rebounds and two assists.

NBA on TNT’s Charles Barkley had an interesting theory as to why Embiid struggled on Tuesday:

“I said at halftime, Joel was so distracted by this MVP stuff, he came out with no energy, distracted and the rest of the team followed,” Barkley said.

On Monday, it was reported that Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic would take home the league MVP for the second straight year, with some believing Embiid was snubbed.

But there is more context behind Embiid’s performance as the discussion shifted to his health, with Ernie Johnson noting that Embiid is coming off a concussion and suffered an orbital fracture that kept him out of the first two games.

But Barkley noted that Embiid just was not aggressive.

“I don’t mind a guy having a bad game, he was shooting fadeaway jumpers, he shot a three, I’m trying to figure – he only shot the ball 12 times,” Barkley said. “He started making plays in the second half but the game was out of control.

“He was distracted. The other players, they follow him – just like they did in Philly the last two games. He was just out of it and I feel bad…tonight he was clearly not there and the rest of the team followed.”

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