Sometime, life comes at you fast, even if you’re an NBA Hall of Famer.
With the Sixers up by just one point at halftime of Monday night’s Game 2 match-up against the Brooklyn Nets, TNT analyst Charles Barkley was all but ready to stick a fork in Philadelphia’s playoff chances.
“The house is on fire. The Nets have zero respect for the 76ers,” Barkley said at halftime. “Embiid’s gotta’ come out. Because number one, he’s not in shape … This is not a series for him. That’s just the way it is.”
“This is not a series for him in his present condition,” Barkley’s TNT colleague Kenny Smith added. “There it is. How about that?”
So how did Embiid respond to the criticism? By immediately scoring 13 points and pulling down five rebounds in the third quarter, helping the Sixers to a 51-point quarter (tying the record for the most points scored in a quarter by a team during the NBA playoffs). By the time Mike Scott’s buzzer beater went through the net with 0.0 left in the quarter, the Sixers had a comfortable 116-87 lead over the Nets.
The Sixers ended the game with a 145-123 win, evening their best-of-seven series with the Nets at one game apiece. The two will face off in Game 3 on Thursday night in Brooklyn on TNT and NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Calling Monday’s game on TNT, Kevin Harlan proved he’d be just as good as a pitchman as he is a play-by-play announcer. First, there was this promo for Burger King:
Then Harlan gave Wendy’s one of the best Frosty promo reads of all time:
Harlan has made many great calls over his 36-year career as a broadcaster, but it’s hard to top his play-by-play of a shirtless streaker running onto the field at Candlestick Park during a 2016 game between the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers (during Chip Kelly’s one and only season as head coach).
“Had I been doing that for CBS television or even TNT, I wouldn’t have [called it],” Harlan said during an interview on the Sports Illustrated Sports Media podcast with Jimmy Traina in April 2018. “On radio, you’re so geared into literally describing everything, from the moon rising above the edge of the stadium to the wind direction … you’re just trying to paint as complete a picture as you can.”
Late in the fourth quarter, NBC Sports Philadelphia play-by-play announcer Marc Zumoff predicted that WIP’s Angelo Cataldi, The Fanatic’s Marc Farzetta, and every other Philadelphia sports talk radio host would have a different tone Tuesday following the Sixers’ dominant win.
Fake WIP Caller seemed to agree:
Courtesy of @MaxOnTwitter: