Did Joel Embiid throw shade at Sixers fans on Sunday? It’s the million-dollar question with a 10-cent answer.
It certainly looked like the All-Star center shouted a fiery NSFW message in the direction of the stands after he stroked a three-ball to put the Sixers up 117-109 versus Chicago.
Embiid has been hearing it from the Philly faithful — and the national media — in recent days as his team has failed to live up to expectations. Some people have called the 7-footer lazy and out of shape, while rumors of Embiid not getting along with Ben Simmons emerged. Embiid seemed to let his true feelings known as his 3-pointer tickled the bottom of the net.
Embiid put his finger to his lips, with a condescending “shush” motion — and then it appeared he mouthed the words: “Shut the f— up.” Did he actually say it? Well, the big man was vague about that part.
“I mean, I don’t care how it looks,” Embiid said, per NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I’m just playing basketball. Just getting back to myself, just being a good a–hole. Just playing basketball and just trying to dominate.”
The three-time All-Star was coming off back-to-back weak performances where he scored 29 combined points, including getting absolutely owned by Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee. On Sunday, Embiid admitted that he’s playing below his standards.
“I have not been playing up to my standards,” Embiid told reporters. “Even tonight, you look at the night, I didn’t shoot the ball well and I didn’t play well. Just mad at myself. Just frustrated.”
Ben Simmons Records Fifth Triple-Double This Year
Sixers guard Ben Simmons has been steadily flying under the radar with his solid play on the court. On Sunday, the 23-year-old went for 19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to record his fifth triple-double of the season. He ranks fifth in the entire NBA in that department, trailing Luca Doncic, LeBron James, Nikola Jokic and Russell Westbrook.
Simmons is averaging 16.8 points, 7.9 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game this season while leading the league in steals at 2.2 per contest. He’s been lights out on defense, arguably the defensive player of the year, and carried the Sixers for a month-long stretch when Joel Embiid was injured.
Still, there have been rumors of problems between the team’s two biggest superstars. Embiid and Simmons don’t seem to feed off each other. Can they play together? Sixers GM Elton Brand thinks so.
“They’re two All-Stars. We just need to figure out how these pieces fit,” Brand told Sixers Wire. “I think you can play very fast. Playoffs are going to slow down, and you have a dominant post player you can play through also. It’s a good problem to have if it’s a problem.”