The Philadelphia 76ers have made it clear that they will not tolerate perfectly good popcorn going to waste in order for it to be hurled at opposing players.
The statement of course is in response to the instantly-viral “popcorn-gate” from late in Wednesday’s Game Two between the Sixers and Washington Wizards – won by host Philly 120-95. As a hobbled Russell Westbrook was assisted off the court and towards the tunnel to go to the locker room, a fan poured popcorn on the guard’s head.
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Westbrook became irate and had to be restrained by team officials and security. The Sixers’ statement and decision comes less than 24 hours following the incident.
Fans React to Popcorn Punishment on Twitter
Not only have NBA superstars – including the face of the league in LeBron James – had strong reactions to the incident, but so too, have fans. When the Sixers organization handed down the punishment on Thursday, followers from both the City of Not-So-Brotherly Love and all across the country had a wide-range of opinions.
Some thought that the punishment fit the crime and no further steps were needed, while others believed the decision was too lenient.
Then there were those who – either seriously or jokingly – suggested that the popcorn-throwing fan should be rewarded for the deed.
Unfortunately, around the same time when Westbrook was being doused with popcorn, about 100 miles northeast of Philly another NBA star was apparently being targeted by an unruly fan, according to video that surfaced late Wednesday night. In the fourth quarter of Game Two of the New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks playoff series, a fan inside Madison Square Garden seems to have spit in the direction of the fan bases new public enemy number one, guard Trae Young.
Like the popcorn-pourer in Philadelphia, the Manhattan spitter has been banned from MSG indefinitely.
Matisse Thybulle Makes NBA History in Blowout Win
Despite the ugly fan-player incident in the fourth quarter, there was plenty to like during the Sixers-Wizards Game Two, at least from a Philly perspective. Not only is the number one seed looking like a strong bet to take care of the eighth-seeded Wizards with little trouble, but Wednesday’s effort featured strong performances, essentially from up and down the roster.
Ben Simmons nearly turned in a triple-double – and if he had been needed for more of the fourth quarter, would have most likely got it. Joel Embiid was tremendous once again and Tobias Harris was as well.
The player who had the most notable stat line may have been second-year guard Matisse Thybulle though. Though he played in just 19 minutes and 54 seconds of action, “Mathief” was able to make NBA history.
When you’re mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Draymond Green, Kawhi Leonard and Hakeem Olajuwon, it’s got to mean you’re doing something right.