Joel Embiid and Russell Westbrook engaged in war of words

Like the same polar ends of two magnets, Russell Westbrook learned on Friday night that he is absolutely repelled by the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid. On the floor, Embiid and Westbrook kept it mostly professional, leading both of their respective teams in scoring.

Both of Embiid’s swats on Friday night were off of Westbrook shots at pivotal moments in the contest. Embiid’s first block effectively caused the first overtime to end in a tie.

The second block didn’t have the same impact, but it came in the final minute of third overtime as Westbrook attacked the rim in transition and was an example of his non-motor. Embiid came loping in from the weakside, barely made up the distance, got his palms on the ball and his momentum carried him into the stands underneath the basket. It was a remarkable sequence for a 7-footer who appeared exhausted for extended portions of the three overtimes.

Westbrook even slapped Embiid’s hand away when the 76ers center offered his hand to a prostrate Carmelo Anthony, who he’d accidentally collided with after the 76ers’ final possession ended in a blocked JJ Redick shot. After the game went final, everything still wasn’t copacetic between those two.

Russell Westbrook braces for Joel Embiid’s attempt to swat his shot from behind. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Russell Westbrook braces for Joel Embiid’s attempt to swat his shot from behind. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Westbrook’s Oklahoma City Thunder prevailed in triple overtime. The real fireworks, however, began when Westbrook was triggered by Embiid waving at Steven Adams after he collected his sixth foul during the final overtime.

A few minutes later, Westbrook, who logs every perceived slight of himself or disrespect of a teammate into his internal hard drive, mocked Embiid’s gesture toward Adams, by smugly waving and pointing at the Sixers center as he walked off the 76ers floor in defeat.

Speaking to the media in the locker room afterwards, Westbrook enlightened everyone about his parting message to Embiid.

Never one to back down from getting taken down an insult, Embiid shot back with a dig at Westbrook’s inefficient scoring night, which included 23 missed shot. While outscoring Westbrook by seven points on 14 fewer shots, Tro-el Embiid had the last laugh at Westbrook’s expense.

These two fellas don’t have particular pleasant, warm and fuzzy feelings for one another, but Westbrook obviously took Embiid’s antics a little more personally. This was bound to occur after three overtimes of sweat and tears. Embiid is too quick-witted, too jocular and he is too carefree. He is anathema to Westbrook.

Westbrook won the official game that counts in the standings, but the last thing he wants to do is get into an ancillary game of the dozens with Embiid. Embiid recently wondered to Ramona Shelburne when people would begin to hate him. If you ask Westbrook about his personal feelings on the matter, he’d tell you he started hating Embiid like Silky Johnson after this triple overtime, Friday night battle.

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DJ Dunson is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or find him on Twitter or Facebook.