Joel Embiid is convinced Sixers deserve better in series vs. Knicks: ‘We should be 2-0’

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The Sixers were leading Game 2 of the Eastern Conference’s first-round playoff series against the Knicks, but eventually collapsed late in the contest. Their rivals ended up winning the game 104-101 on Monday night, and Joel Embiid couldn’t hide his disappointment as his team let victory escape from their finger tips. 

The reigning MVP believes Philadelphia deserve to be in a better situation. “We should be [ahead] 2-0. We’re good. We’re going to win this series,” the star big man said. “We are going to win this. We know what we gotta fix and we did a better job today, so we are going to fix it.”

Now the 76ers have no choice but to prevent their series deficit from going 3-0 against on Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET. “We are the better team, we are going to keep fighting,” Joel insisted.

Despite his criticism of the series, NBA Hall of Famer turned expert Charles Barkley believes the star should behave differently. “What I’d like to see from Joel, he’s got to get his head up,” he said. “As the leader of the team, he cannot have his head down … He’s got to say, ‘Guys, we’re fine. They did what they supposed to do. Now, we gotta go home and win Game 3 and 4.’”

In the last minute, Tyrese Maxey messed up with a turnover which ended up becoming a three-pointer from Donte DiVincenzo that stole the lead. Embiid sounded off on the refs as he thought a whistle should’ve been blown. “But forget about the timeouts. There was a bunch of fouls. Like I said, that’s (expletive) unacceptable,” he expressed.

While Barkley thought coach Nick Nurse should’ve called a timeout, his co-star Shaquille O’Neal explained why players should stick to the ball and not wait until the officials call for fouls.

“When you get the ball on the side, you can’t be flailing and flopping around looking for the ball,” said the legendary center. “Did he get fouled? Maybe. But still, you got to get it and hold it.”

Philadelphia expect to clean up on glass to earn more rebounds during series against New York

The Manhattan club dominated the airwaves during Game 1 of the first-round series against Philly, and finished the match with an impressive 23 offensive rebounds. This led to the Knicks’ 26-8 advantage in second-chance points.

This is why the Sixers are convinced that they must improve on the glass back at the Wells Fargo Center for Game 3. “In a playoff game, that’s way too much,” Nicolas Batum said, making reference to their lack of offensive rebounds. “Win the game. We still had a chance to win the game. That’s the worst part it, we still had a chance.”

The 35-year-old acknowledged that they’re up against one of the best teams in the NBA, and seemed more in tune with the aggressiveness required to win a playoff match.

“We’ve got to control the rebounds, and we knew it. They’re maybe the best, no, the best, at that in the whole league. They played great, they play aggressive and they go chase every ball, and they did that last night, so we lost on that,” the veteran shared.