Joel Embiid Claps Back at Nets Head Coach Jacque Vaughn After Sixers’ Gutsy Win

Joel Embiid Philadelphia 76ers

Getty Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers.

After the Philadelphia 76ers’ comfortable Game One win, Brooklyn Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn threw down the gauntlet for the referees.

“Hopefully, they’ll be calling a travel and three seconds on the big fella next game,” Vaughn said postgame. “So I’ll look forward to that.”

Turns out “the big fella” was watching.

It may not have been the prettiest game from Joel Embiid — 20 points and 19(!) rebounds — but he was crucial to keeping the Sixers in a game that more closely resembled a rock fight than poetry in motion. After the 96-84 final, Embiid couldn’t help but take aim at Vaughn over his comments following Game One.

“I saw after the game last time, they kinda took the Nick Nurse route of begging for free throws and calling out the referees,” Embiid said. “Then they come out and they got a lot of calls — which, I guess, is good for them. I think we didn’t play our best basketball. But what happened in the second half was we just figured out what worked and we just kept doing it over and over and over.”

Nurse, whom Embiid is referencing, is the Toronto Raptors head coach who regularly castigated officials for not calling more fouls on Embiid.

But that’s not the only nugget to come out of an excellent presser in South Philly.

Joel Embiid Pokes Fun at Grizzlies Scorer After Sixers Beat Nets

The final stat sheet only recorded three blocks for Embiid, though the eye test suggested he probably deserved more. After the game, Embiid joked that he needed a juicer to pump up his stats.

“I had what, hree blocks? Only three blocks? I probably need the Memphis scorekeeper. What was it Denver, Memphis? Whatever. I thought I had more. But that’s the level I got to get to, and I’m going to do it every game,” Embiid said.

Here, Embiid is referencing a mid-season controversy in which Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson, Jr. was credited with a few questionable blocks on the box score. Jackson was named Defensive Player of the Year on Monday.

And to top it all off, Embiid demonstrated some selective amnesia when asked about a vicious dunk by Cam Johnson.

Joel Embiid Takes Jab at Cam Johnson Dunk

Late in the first half, Embiid was the target of a nasty poster by Nets forward Cam Johnson. At the time, the Nets were humming and couldn’t miss, appearing destined to tie up the series with Philly.

Fortunately for the Sixers, Tyrese Maxey stayed hot for much of the game, cashing in on 33 points and a stellar night from beyond the arc. Given the win, Embiid felt more comfortable joking about being part of Johnson’s dunk.

“I don’t know, I don’t remember being dunked on,” Embiid said. “It’s the playoffs, that’s usually where I take my defense to another level. I thought tonight as a team we were really good, and then myself, I felt like, like I said it’s the playoffs. It’s been like that over my career every single time. We can talk about, it’s hard to play 100 percent of the time in the regular season with that many games, but it’s the playoffs. Every possession matters.”

The Sixers will be back in action Thursday night, where they’ll look to go up 3-o on the Nets in Brooklyn.