Two of the Eastern Conference powerhouses went head to head on Wednesday night. Both these teams entered this matchup to assert who is the more dominant one, as they are both one of the top teams in the East. However, a match that was initially about who would take away this important victory ended up becoming a war of words between Joel Embiid and Marcus Smart.
The unsaid rivalry between the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics ended with the 76ers winning by 117-109. This was actually the first matchup between these two, but it was clearly a rematch from the time the Celtics swept the 76ers in just four games in the first round of the playoffs last season.
Neither team wanted to lose ground in this game. Even though both were somewhat shorthanded, as the Celtics played without Jayson Tatum and Philly didn’t have their sharpshooter Seth Curry, it was an intriguing battle to watch.
The man who stood out was Joel Embiid. The big man had a monster night as he put up 42 points and 11 rebounds. However, there was one stat that left one of the players of the rival team in a rage. Embiid alone got to the line 21 times in total during their matchup and converted 17 of them, while Boston in total had 20 free-throw attempts only.
This stat led to Marcus believing that there was some acting by Joel involved. This was ironic because Smart is known for overselling contact, and the accusations coming from him must have been comical to Embiid.
Embiid decided to respond to Marcus’ comments. As per Derek Bodner, Embiid said, “Marcus Smart just told me that I flail a lot? Come on. I’m sure he knows himself and he knows his game. You know he does a lot of that. The game is physical, other teams tend to try to be extra physical against me. And I guess I’m just smarter than everybody else…If you’re gonna put your hand up there, I’m gonna take advantage of it and I’m gonna get to the free-throw line.”
The rising tension between the two teams is no surprise as they both always try to one-up each other in the East. In fact, they will be seeing each other on Friday again. Will the 76ers continue their winning streak? Or will the Celtics remind them of the time they crushed them in the Orlando Bubble?
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