Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid added Andre Drummond to his list of players he's traded barbs with, a group that also includes former teammate Nerlens Noel and Golden State Warriors stars Kevin Durant and Draymond Green. Embiid added another name to that group last night in LA Clippers reserve center Willie Reed, who got Embiid fired up with his trash talking.
* Recap: Sixers 109, Clippers 105
The tension between Reed and Embiid started in the second quarter, when Reed didn't approve of Embiid's defense on him at the basket (which resulted in Reed getting called for traveling). Embiid reacted by pointing at Reed and smiling, and on the Sixers' next possession, Embiid went up for a basket and was pulled down by the shoulder by Reed.
Jessica Camerato of NBCSportsPhilly.com has more from Embiid on the incident and how it led to his big game (a career-high 36 minutes, with 32 points and a career-best 16 rebounds):
“I just wanted to go inside, especially against [DeAndre Jordan] and I don't know, what's his name? But that boy fouled out,” Embiid said in a walk-off interview after the Sixers’ 109-105 win over the Clippers on Monday night.
Embiid bounced up and quickly got right in Reed’s face. Their teammates and officials intervened before it went any further. The refs called Reed for a Flagrant 1. The Clippers’ reserve big man ended up fouling out with 23 seconds remaining in the game.
“He just did what he had to do,” Embiid said. “He was fouling me and he got a [flagrant] because he couldn’t guard me.”
“I love when guys come at the beginning of the game and start talking trash,” Embiid said. “It gets me going. That’s what I’ve been needing the past couple games and I think it got me going, too. They were being aggressive and that’s how they get in foul trouble and that’s how I do my job.”
While the dust-up with Reed could have led to an ejection for Embiid or Reed (or both), Sixers coach Brett Brown gave Embiid credit for keeping his emotions in check:
“He walks that fine line, doesn’t he, of getting engaged, getting into the game,” Brett Brown said. “I thought that he did a really good job of staying on the side of the fence that didn’t produce anything harmful for the team, a technical or something like that.
“He used his spirit and he used his sort of swagger to help motivate himself and us. He was dominant tonight. He wanted the ball. He was physical. Brutally physical at times. I thought his attitude stayed on that fence. He didn’t cross that line.”
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