The Boston Celtics dropped their second consecutive game on Wednesday night, thanks in large part to their inability to contain Philadelphia 76ers big-man Joel Embiid.
The three-time All-Star led the Sixers to a 117-109 victory behind a monstrous stat line headed by a game-high 42 points. The seven-footer bullied his way in the paint and lived at the free-throw line for the majority of the night. Embiid outpaced the entire Celtics team from the line, knocking down 17 of his 21 free throw attempts compared to Boston, who went 13-of-20 as a team.
Celtics guard Marcus Smart was not all too impressed with Embiid’s performance, expressing his displeasure with the officiating, claiming the center readily “flails” to get calls.
Smart’s comments of course quickly gained steam in NBA circles, with many zeroing in on the irony, as the point guard is widely renowned as one of the league’s more decorated “floppers.”
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Kendrick Perkins on Marcus Smart: ‘We Know You’re a Flopper’
Former Celtics champion Kendrick Perkins decided to chime in on Smart’s accusations of Embiid during a Thursday appearance on ESPN’s The Jump.
Perkins made it a point to applaud Smart’s non-friendly tactics. “I love it. I love it,” Perkins said. “No more of this buddy-buddy ball. Listen, go at each other, I love the beef.”
Yet, as for who Perkins is backing in flop-gate, the former 14-year pro has decided to cross enemy lines.
“I’m on Joel Embiid’s side right now,” Perkins said. “He’s been playin’ phenomenal, but the start of the game he established himself in the paint. He established himself, he was dominant in the paint. And look, a lot of those calls were fouls. They were fouls. He did a great job of mixing it up, from shootin’ his one-two dribble pullups, stretchin’ the floor, shootin’ the three. And then when the times got tough he went down to the low block and he got to the free-throw line.”
Perkins followed up his praise of Embiid by taking a friendly dig at Smart.
“Look, Marcus Smart, I get it right? We all flop. We know you’re a flopper. You’re my boy. But Joel was not floppin’ last night. He was just imposing his will. That’s just it.”
Jay Williams Echoes Perkins Take: ‘Marcus Smart Flops, Too’
Perkins wasn’t the only ESPN analyst to weigh-in on Smart’s comments of Embiid. Former No. 2 overall pick Jay Williams scoffed at the Celtics guard’s take during Thursday’s airing of Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin on ESPN radio.
“The best I love about this whole thing is you have one of the best actors in the NBA calling out another actor because he’s mad because he acted better than Marcus Smart that evening,” Williams said. “Marcus Smart flops, too.”
The two teams will run it back on Friday when Embiid and the Sixers welcome Smart’s Celtics into Wells Fargo Center to wrap up the mini-series. Smart could have some reinforcement coming his way, as head coach Brad Stevens has left the door open for the potential return of All-Star forward Jayson Tatum.
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