Sixers Locker Room Has Mixed Feelings on Joel Embiid’s Scuffle
PHILADELPHIA, PA (973espn.com) — Today, the Philadelphia 76ers are the most talked about team in the NBA. Not only because they happen to be one of two undefeated teams standing, but mainly because of the Wednesday night scuffle that occurred between Sixers' center Joel Embiid, and Timberwolves center, Karl Anthony-Towns.
By now, everybody has seen the incident. No punches were thrown, but the two big men wrestled to the ground before coaches, players, and security jumped in to break it all up. As expected, both Embiid and Towns were ejected for engaging in a physical altercation. Meanwhile, Ben Simmons avoided the boot as he was deemed a 'peacemaker.'
The reaction in Philly was classic. As Embiid heard his name announced as part of the ejection process, he didn't hang his head or pout. Instead, the Sixers' big man pumped the crowd up as if he was a part of the Bash Brothers in Mighty Ducks D2. Some within the Sixers locker room liked it. Others, not so much.
Following the game, Embiid wasted no time reacting to the incident. He wasn't remorseful at all. In fact, he doubled-down on condoning his own actions as he chalked it up as just being a physical game of basketball. "It kind of happened out of nowhere," Embiid said. "I just did what I had to do, and I was just trying to control myself.
Embiid didn't have intentions of engaging in a fight. He was just playing the game the way he knows how to play. In the process, he struck a nerve with his familiar foe and succeeded with his goal of throwing a good player off of his game. "I like to get into people's minds. It’s the game, [and] we’re just having fun playing basketball, then something like that is nothing — just move on.”
The Sixers' big man wasn't the only one who enjoyed the momentum from the fight. The team's frequent enforcer, Mike Scott, might've been more juiced than the crowd. “I was like ‘Yeah, [expletive] what they talkin' about’ just hyping him up — that was fun. Sorry, I can only be me, but that was fun.”
Not everybody enjoyed the antics, though. Two players, in particular, weren't very thrilled with everything going down in the moment, or even after the game when the dust settled. Sixers' forward Tobias Harris didn't really care to talk about it. "It is what it is," Harris commented, following the win over the T'Wolves. "I don't know what you want me to say. I'm out here to play basketball and win games."
Longtime veteran Al Horford echoed the same sentiment during a postgame press conference. "It’s just one of those things that you don’t want to see in a game," says Horford in a calm tone. "That happened, and it was unfortunate, but I do hope that they both learn from this. There’s just no place for that it in our game."
Clearly, the locker room is torn on reactions. On one side, players are hyped and ready for whatever future scuffles come their way. On the other end, some guys are disappointed and wished it wouldn't escalate to that ever. Regardless of how both sides feel, though, one thing is for sure — the Sixers are going to have each other's backs and will continue to play their aggressive style of 'bully-ball', which Brett Brown encourages.