Sixers Take ‘Bully Ball’ to Another Level Against Timberwolves
PHILADELPHIA, PA (973espn.com) — Throughout the offseason and the beginning of the 2019-2020 regular season, the Philadelphia 76ers preached a style of play that best suits the city they represent. Everybody knows Philadelphia to be a 'gritty city.' The fans try their best to be as raw and unfiltered as possible, while the players attempt to match that same style and intensity.
Brett Brown and the Sixers have been working on creating that type of image throughout the summer, as he engraved a defense-first mindset in the heads of his players. For lack of better words, the Sixers are giving a go at playing what they call 'bully ball.' And on Wednesday night, they took that style of play to another level in South Philly.
After a two-game road trip, the Sixers hosted the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Wells Fargo Center for their second home game of the season. As both squads came into the matchup undefeated, the game held a lot more weight than it typically would any other time. Needless to say, the Sixers ended up putting on a show in more ways than one.
Overall the Sixers came out as winners, with the final score being 117-95. Advancing to 4-0 on the year, however, wasn't even the most prominent story of the night. Instead, everybody was focused on the third quarter scuffle that occurred between Sixers' center Joel Embiid and Timberwolves center, Karl Anthony-Towns.
Since these two big men typically get into heated battles, some smack-talking was expected throughout the game. However, nobody figured a physical altercation followed by double-ejections would go down, though. As Embiid and Towns got tangled up with each other, they ended up wrestling to the ground until their teammates and coaches flew over in time to break it up.
A frustrated Towns had to be escorted back to his bench after failing to let go of the situation. Meanwhile, one of the biggest instigators in the NBA, Joel Embiid, walked away with a smile. Knowing that he accomplished his ultimate goal of getting into another player's head during the game, Embiid couldn't be happier.
You would think Embiid's smile would fade away after hearing he was getting sent to the locker room for the rest of the night but it didn't. In fact, the Sixers' big man fed off of the energetic crowd and loved every moment of his walk of shame back to the locker room with more than a quarter left to go in the game.
"The reaction and the love they have for me, I can’t thank them enough," Embiid said regarding Sixers fans. "Like I said before — I really appreciate all of the love. It’s crazy, that type of reaction. It was probably the loudest I've ever heard them, and I heard the ‘MVP’ chants from the locker room, and it was great."
Embiid might've been the only Sixer ejected, but his teammate Ben Simmons immediately got caught up in the mix with him as the point guard attempted to break it up. Of course, Simmons' way of acting as the 'peacemaker' contained him putting Karl Anthony-Towns into a bit of a chokehold until he relaxed, which sent the internet off.
"I was just making sure my teammate was good," Simmons said. "I always got my teammates back." Embiid acknowledged Simmons' loyalty following the game as well. "I know [my teammates] have my back," Embiid says. "If it was anybody on the team; whoever that was on the court, I know they were there to make sure everything was straight. That’s what I love about this team. We love each other [and] have our backs. It goes beyond basketball.”