Sixers coach says not to worry about Joel Embiid's explicit reaction to Ben Simmons

Before Joel Embiid shoved Patrick Beverley, Jimmy Butler got into a scuffle with Avery Bradley (earning a pair of ejections) and Ben Simmons sealed the victory with a savvy move, two of the Philadelphia 76ers’ star triumvirate got into a tussle themselves, as Embiid took umbrage with a Simmons elbow to the face early in the third quarter of Tuesday’s last-minute victory against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Following Bradley’s errant 3-point attempt 2:38 into the second half, both Embiid and Simmons vied for the rebound, with the latter’s elbow catching the former’s face in the process. Embiid ended up with it, dumped the ball off to Simmons, and then grabbed his face as he unleashed an NSFW rant.

Sixers coach Brett Brown called a timeout to tend to Embiid, and the broadcast’s microphone caught the All-Star center screaming, “What is he doing fighting for a f—ing rebound?” He was not having it.

Asked on the broadcast about the physicality of the game in its aftermath, Embiid opted to focus on Simmons’ elbow to his face rather than the team’s two dustups with the Clippers’ stingy backcourt:

Simmons didn’t seem concerned about the elbow or Embiid’s reaction to it, telling the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey, “I mean, coach tells me to crash the boards. So I just went to the boards.”

Still, Embiid’s reaction was harsh enough to warrant a question to the coach after the game, especially because the center has been consistently vocal about his floor-spacing role amid Simmons’ shooting woes. There is some real concern about how Philadelphia’s star trio fits together, and more specifically about how the team’s two young stars will cope with each other chasing superstardom.

Brown urged us not to read too much into Embiid’s reaction, reminding everyone that the center missed a month of last season, including two playoff games, because Sixers teammate Markelle Fultz caught him with an errant elbow in March. This, the coach said, was the source of Embiid’s anger.

“He got hit in the face inadvertently by Markelle and missed a significant part of our season,” said Brown, who made sure to note that Embiid was supportive of Simmons when he missed two late free throws. “It’s just the frustration and I’m sure initial fear, but don’t read into anything about that.”

Back in the locker room, Embiid agreed with his coach’s assessment.

“I kind of freaked out also, because that’s the same [part of the] face I had the surgery on,” he told Pompey. “That’s why I lost it. But it was a basketball play. Nothing to talk about.”

I guess there’s nothing to see here, so long as Simmons stays away from Embiid’s rebounds.

The Sixers hope the partnership between Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid bears championship fruit in the future. (Getty Images)
The Sixers hope the partnership between Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid bears championship fruit in the future. (Getty Images)

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Ben Rohrbach is a staff writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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