Joel Embiid and Hassan Whiteside do not like each other. That dislike was renewed Thursday night when the 76ers visited the Heat in Miami.
Shortly after halftime, the two got tangled up running down the court after Whiteside blocked an Embiid layup attempt. In real time it looked like Embiid may have swatted backwards at Whiteside’s face, but a slow motion replay reveals that Whiteside actually managed to strike himself in the face while attempting to elbow The Process in the back.
Hassan Whiteside and Joel Embiid getting chippy. pic.twitter.com/1lFEeK07G3
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) March 9, 2018
Both players were assessed fouls, but Embiid mostly stood around shrugging his shoulders, wondering why he was even in trouble. But that wasn’t the end of their battles.
In the fourth quarter, Whiteside took a short dump off pass and crammed home a slam dunk as Embiid watched helplessly. Whiteside added a little “ooomph” to the basket, hanging on the rim and getting in Embiid’s face. Whiteside also helped the Heat pick up a win, as they pulled away to take a 108-99 victory.
After the game, Embiid fired parting shots:
“He tried to hit me in the back, which is kind of dirty because of the fact that I’ve had back problems,” Embiid said in the 76ers’ locker room. “We’re going to see about that. I won’t forget about that.”
Not, Embiid said, that it necessarily left an indelible impression.
“He hits pretty soft,” he said, “so I didn’t feel anything. But just the action of him trying to like do that, I think it’s pretty messed up.” [Via Miami Sun-Sentinel]
Embiid also cast aside questions of their previous social media beef, where he accused Whiteside of being more concerned with individual stats than team wins. Instead he accused Whiteside of deliberately trying to injure him.
“I think he’s pretty messed up,” Embiid said. “I don’t care what we have outside of basketball. But at the same time, you’ve got to respect the rules of basketball and play basketball and have fun doing it.”
The Heat and the 76ers do not play each other again this season, but a playoff matchup is possible (although unlikely, since they are currently the 6th and 7th seeds in the East).