He got the last Chuckle.
Charles Barkley provided one more indignity to a despairing night for Joel Embiid on Sunday, when the tears came down for the distraught 7-footer.
The war of words that began with Barkley, on TNT, ripping the playoff performance of a sick Embiid and continued with Embiid rejecting the criticism concluded with Barkley taking one last stab at the 76ers star.
“When they play like crap and we call ’em out, we don’t know what we’re talking about,” Barkley said before the 92-90 Raptors Game 7 victory, Kawhi Leonard’s game-winner arching just over Embiid’s long arms at the buzzer. “I’m easy to find. I’ve always said he’s a hell of a player. If he can stay healthy he can be one of the greatest ever — if he can stay healthy, the jury’s still out on that. But I get sick of these guys complaining.
“… When I bragged about him and Ben Simmons a few years ago, they could be the future of the NBA, he didn’t call me, ‘Hey, Charles, thanks for the kind words.’ But listen, I’m going to criticize guys if they deserve it. They can kiss my ass if they don’t like it.”
The 25-year-old, who battled a virus throughout the second-round series, had a trying Game 7, imposing his will defensively but shooting just 6-of-18 for 21 points. It will be tough to live down the final moments, when he switched on to Leonard and forced him into an impossible rainbow prayer that (eventually) fell through.
The feud had begun after Game 5, in which Embiid was sick and the 76ers were blown out. Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal did not want to hear excuses and called out The Process.
“Charles, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about sometimes,” Embiid said in response. “He just be saying whatever he wants to.”
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