Playoffs 2019 East First Round: 76ers (3) vs. Nets (6)
Nets upset over laughing apology from Embiid, Simmons
* Tonight on TNT: Game 3, Sixers-Nets (8 ET)
The Brooklyn Nets are clearly not fans of the way Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons talked about Embiid’s elbow of Jarrett Allen in their postgame comments following Game 2 on Monday.
Embiid was whistled for a flagrant foul on Monday for throwing an elbow at Allen late in the half as the Philadelphia 76ers were nursing a 65-64 lead. After the game, he apologized for the elbow — but he and Simmons were both lightly chuckling as he said that.
On Wednesday, Nets guard Caris LeVert said he and his teammates didn’t appreciate that aspect of the situation.
“We didn’t really like that,” LeVert said, per Greg Logan of Newsday. “We thought that was kind of disrespectful, especially after the elbow he threw. There’s no love lost. It’s a playoff series. We expect that.”
When asked if Embiid’s actions demand a physical response, LeVert said: “We just want to play our game and do whatever it takes to win. Be physical when we can. We don’t feel like we’re a dirty team. We definitely have to protect ourselves out there.”
For the record, what Embiid said in his postgame apology was the following: “I saw the replay and obviously wasn’t intentional and I got him pretty good and I’m sorry about …” Embiid then looked at Simmons and the both started laughing. Embiid then spoke again saying, “I’m sorry about it. It wasn’t intentional.”
“I’m not usually humble, that’s why he’s laughing,” Embiid said during the news conference, nodding toward Simmons. “But, yeah, I was just trying to be aggressive.”
While Embiid was given a Flagrant 1 for the elbow, many on the Nets felt he could have been penalized further for it. Still, they know they cannot take matters into their own hands in Game 3.
“Two young guys doing, saying whatever they said in the moment. It is what it is,” Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie said, per ESPN.com. “It’s not something that we can play into, right, because if we get into a physicality match, if [Allen] throws the same elbow and hits Joel, he’s getting ejected. That’s just kind of what it is. We can’t play that game.”
Allen, for his part, isn’t fretting over the comments made after Game 2 and is looking to move on from it all.
“I honestly don’t know what to think about it. I’m just thinking how I say it. I don’t think there was any malice,” Allen said. “I just think it was an aggressive play. Go to the next play and play basketball.”
Veteran Jared Dudley, who missed Game 2 due to tightness in his calf, described Embiid as a “silly guy.” He also wondered why the NBA did not fine Embiid for his foul.
“I felt a certain type of way for it just because you’re laughing and someone could have really gotten hurt,” Dudley said, per Newsday. “Luckily, Jay did pop up. For us, you can get even however you want to do it, but the biggest thing for us to get even is winning Game 3.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.