Whether he likes it or not, the 2023 NBA Playoffs are going to be a referendum on the legitimacy of “The Process” because without a second round victory this team will most likely face a complete overhaul. I caution to use the word “rebuild” but if James Harden really does have an interest in grabbing a big payday and returning to Houston like Woj reported on ESPN things could get dicey. We have not wanted to talk about the second round series storylines on the John Kincade Show and have preferred to enjoy the fun of the Nets series. Last night though, wasn’t exactly my definition of fun.

Joel Embiid after the game said “I’m too valuable to be ejected” when discussing his incident in the first quarter that could have ended his night. As he was being stepped over under the basket by Nick Clayton after falling down, he thought that kicking Clayton in the junk was going to be an acceptable response. Cue the “he disrespected Embiid” retorts from the defenders, but he could easily have been ejected from the game. It would have been a disastrous turn for the 76ers Game 3 chances. Before any Philly fan clutches their pearls and defends him kicking Claxton, remember that we have had fans similarly celebrating a disrespectful playoff step over as a seminal moment for 22 years. The important thing is not to bury the lead. Joel Embiid IS too valuable to be ejected, but he easily could have been for that offense.

What the Nets set out to do, the Nets accomplished. They tried two different game plans in Philadelphia and fell short in both of them. In Game 3 they figured “bully ball” was the way to go. If they could bump and battle the 76ers they might be able to get them off of their game. The only one who seemed to be greatly affected by their strategy was Embiid, the player the 76ers can’t possibly afford to lose. He told us post game that he understood the Nets strategy, but that he wasn’t going to fall for it. Unfortunately, anyone who watched the game knows that he did.

Later in the contest James Harden was ejected on a ridiculous call. I wondered whether the officials realized that by not ejecting Embiid earlier in the game that they would face huge criticism. By ejecting Harden it might have offered them cover by allowing the Nets to secure a victory. If that was the case, it looks like they doubled down on huge mistakes.

Tyrese Maxey kept his focus and wasn’t going to allow the Nets physical play to affect him. He turned a 5 point deficit into a 3 point lead in a matter of three offensive possessions. It was breathtaking! It was a playoff game coming out moment that could have lasting effects moving forward for the emerging star.

The summary point is that Joel needs to not just talk the talk, but walk the walk. Future opponents are taking notes. If Joel Embiid can’t get his emotions under control the ghosts of playoffs past are likely to revisit the fan base.

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Philadelphia 76ers Playoff Bell Ringers 2023

The Philadelphia 76ers entered the 2023 NBA Playoffs as the third seed in a loaded Eastern Conference. 

The Sixers have made the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season, but five consecutive disappointing losses (four in the second round) have extended their streak without an appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Doc Rivers said it best as a guest on The John Kincade Show.

“We don’t talk about getting out of the second round. To me, that is such low expectations for our team. We talk about winning it, so I guess there’s angst getting out of the second round, but I can tell you we don’t talk about it. The angst more is to try to be a champion, and that’s what we focus on way more than just getting out of the second round.”

Joel Embiid and company hope that the best home-court advantage in the NBA will play in their favor throughout a memorable run this spring.

What gets the home crowd in Philadelphia fired up for a Sixers playoff game? Hearing Matt Cord announce special guests as 76ers bell ringers at half court at the Well Fargo Center.

  • Nick Sirianni- Round 1, Game 1 vs. Brooklyn Nets


    Who better than the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles fresh off a Super Bowl appearance?

    Nick Sirianni fired up the crowd for the playoff opener at the Wells Fargo Center on April 15. He unsurprisingly brought his children out to half court with him, and his brand new Sixers jacket made everyone forget to mention anything about him pandering to the fan base.

    The Sixers rolled the Brooklyn Nets 121-101 to take a 1-0 lead in the opening-round series.

  • Larry Bowa- Game 2, Round 1 vs. Brooklyn Nets

    Larry Bowa helped bring the Philadelphia Phillies their first ever World Series in 1980. Maybe the stroke of good luck will help the Sixers end a 30-year drought without a championship.

    The Sixers recovered from a slow start to take care of the Nets 96-84 to take a 2-0 lead over the Nets.

  • Jason Kelce- Game 3, Round 2 vs. Boston Celtics

    The John Kincade Show called Jason Kelce the most relatable athlete in Philadelphia sports history.

    The five-time NFL All-Pro ignited the fan base for the loudest Eagles chant the city has ever heard in 2018. His energy matched the pregame mood of the building for Game 3 of the Boston Celtics series when Joel Embiid received the NBA MVP Award.

    The Sixers couldn’t take advantage of the rowdy home crowd. The Celtics took a 2-1 series lead with a 114-102 victory.

  • Wanda Sykes- Game 4, Round 2 vs. Boston Celtics

    The Sixers brought back a previous bell ringer with Wanda Sykes before a critical Game 4 against the Celtics. The actor/comedian has become a local favorite in Media, PA when she’s not firing up the crowd at the Wells Fargo Center.

    The Sixers pulled off a nailbiting, 116-115 overtime victory to even the series 2-2.

  • Questlove- Game 6, Round 2 vs. Boston Celtics

    Questlove got his start in the music industry in the city of Philadelphia. He is now the drummer for the Roots, and he set the tone for a potentially monumental night in the City of Brotherly Love when the Sixers had the opportunity to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2001.

    The Sixers, unfortunately, couldn’t capitalize in a disappointing 95-86 loss. 

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