After the Sixers' playoff-ending Game 5 loss to the Boston Celtics, Joel Embiid took the high road and praised fans at TD Bank Garden who had shouted, among other things, "Embiid sucks!" during the game.
"When the fans told me I suck, I just want to show them that, you know, I don't," Embiid said. "I'm much better than you guys think. And I know they know that, too. But it's just fun to do. In the third quarter, that's when they were doing it, and I felt like I needed to take over. It wasn't enough, but I love being in that type of environment."
But after Embiid praised the Celtics and their fans, at least one former Boston great criticized the Sixers phenom.
During an appearance Monday on SiriusXM NBA Radio, Celtics Hall of Famer Robert Parish was asked what he would have done if he'd faced Embiid during his playing days with the Celtics. Parish didn't hold back.
"Run his jock strap off, for starters, because he's not in shape," Parish said. "I would make him play defense and run his jock strap off every chance I got. By the fourth quarter, he'd be drained. Trust me on that."
Despite Parish's tone, his thoughts about Embiid's endurance echo what many, including my colleague Bob Ford, wrote about the Sixers big man after the loss.
"For Joel Embiid to fully tap his outlandish potential, he has to be in better conditioning shape and be more fundamentally sound," Ford wrote. "He made fundamental mistakes, partly because he has flawed fundamentals, but he was also gassed. Embiid's dedication to conditioning has been questioned before. This time, at the end of his first really extended season of basketball, it really affected him."
Parish didn't stop with the Sixers. He also wondered if Celtics coach Brad Stevens was getting too much credit for the team's success this season.
"I think he's getting a little too much praise, but I like what he's doing," Parish said. "They're giving him all the love like he's won three or four championships. Come on now, win something first.
"Granted, don't get me wrong — he's a solid coach. I give him that. But with the love he's getting from the media, you'd think the Celtics have won two or three championships," Parish continued.
Cataldi set to return Wednesday
SportsRadio 94.1 WIP morning show host Angelo Cataldi remains off the radio a week after leaving the studio mid-show last Tuesday after a severe kidney-stone attack.
Cataldi was released from the hospital Friday afternoon, after having undergone successful surgery to remove one large kidney stone and "a bunch of other stuff in my bladder," the sports talker wrote on Twitter.
Sources expect Cataldi, a known workaholic, to return to the station Wednesday, just in time to opine about where the Sixers end up in tonight's NBA draft lottery.
This is the second time in recent months Cataldi has been forced off the air because of health issues. In November, the 67-year-old host missed about a week and a half after an emergency gallbladder surgery left him hospitalized.
"I've had the 10 worst days of my life," Cataldi said after that surgery, calling in to his WIP show. "What they said to me was when they took it out, it has gangrenous cells in it. It was really, really awful. They couldn't believe I didn't have any symptoms."
Aikman, Buck to call Thursday Night Football
Play-by-play announcer Joe Buck and analyst Troy Aikman will call Fox's 12 Thursday Night Football games this season, Fox Sports president & COO Eric Shanks confirmed to Sports Business Daily's John Ourand.
"They will call all the doubleheader games, as well as the Thursday games," Shanks said, meaning the duo would likely have off certain Sundays.
There was no word whether sideline reporter Erin Andrews, who joins Buck and Aikman on Sundays, will also be part of Fox's Thursday Night Football broadcast.
Fox signed a five-year, $2.75 billion deal with the NFL to take over the league's often-criticized Thursday night broadcasts (former Seahawks defender Richard Sherman referred to them as an "absolute poopfest"). This season, Fox appears to have a decent slate of games, at least on paper, including the Eagles at the Giants on Oct. 11 in Week 6.