Opponents are mad at Joel Embiid.
Forgive us if you’ve heard this one before.
On Monday, the Philadelphia 76ers center delivered a vicious elbow to Jarrett Allen’s face on a move to the basket in Game 2 of a playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets.
Embiid picked up a flagrant 1 foul for the blow, but remained in the game as the 76ers rolled to a 145-123 win to tie the series at 1-1.
Embiid laughs while apologizing
After the game, Embiid and teammate Ben Simmons had a good chuckle over the incident as Embiid gave his version of an apology for hitting a man in the face with his elbow.
Joel Embiid apologized to Nets big man Jarrett Allen for elbowing him as Ben Simmons laughs:— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) April 16, 2019
"I got him pretty good but I'm sorry about it. it wasn't intentional..... I'm not usually humble that's why he's laughing" pic.twitter.com/dxgQ7K86J9
Nets not feeling Embiid
Some Nets players are feeling salty over Embiid’s response.
"We didn't really like that,” Nets guard Caris Lavert told reporters on Wednesday. “We thought that was kind of disrespectful, especially after the elbow he threw. It is what it is. There's no love lost. It's a playoff series. We expect that."
Embiid said in that apology that the elbow wasn’t intentional before Simmons couldn’t contain himself at the idea of Embiid showing remorse.
“I got him pretty good, and I’m sorry about it,” Embiid said, prompting Simmons to look down and snicker as he sat next to him during the postgame news conference. Embiid went on to laugh out loud before explaining that “I’m not usually humble, that’s why he’s laughing” while pointing to Simmons.
No, Embiid isn’t a humble man
This is true. Embiid isn’t usually humble, and anything that sounds like an apology for something that happened on the court was definitely off-brand for one of the game’s preeminent trolls.
We were caught off guard just as Simmons was.
But just because Embiid jokes and trolls on the regular doesn’t make laughing about potentially injuring somebody’s head a laughing matter according to Nets forward Jared Dudley.
"I felt a certain type of way for it just because you're laughing, and someone could have really gotten hurt," Dudley said. "Now, luckily, J did pop up. That's been Embiid's personality, but just because it's your personality doesn't mean it's right.”
Embiid apologizes again, without laughing
Before Thursday’s Game 3 of the series, Embiid told reporters he apologized to Allen in person and reiterated that he was genuinely remorseful about the elbow. This time there were no laughs.
“I was trying to be genuine,” Embiid told reporters. “I was actually sorry about what I did. And I actually apologized to Jarrett during the game. I kept asking him if he was OK. That was not my intent.
“Unfortunately at the podium, my teammates made me laugh and it kind of took a wrong turn. ... I wasn’t laughing because of how sorry I was, which I am. I’m extremely sorry. That’s not what I meant to do. I was just trying to be aggressive and make a basketball play. ... I probably should have been ejected.”
Kurucs: ‘Dirty play’
Nets forward Rodions Kurucs, who picked up his own flagrant foul shortly after Embiid’s for elbowing Simmons in the mouth, took Dudley’s criticism a step further on Wednesday, calling Embiid’s play dirty.
“[Embiid’s] was a pretty dirty play in my opinion,” Kurucs said. “Dirtier than mine, 100 percent. Because I didn’t do it on purpose, and I saw he did it on purpose. So I feel he was laughing about that.”
Here’s Kurucs’ swipe at Simmons so you can judge for yourself.
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