With 6:42 left in the third quarter during last nights win over the Timberwolves, Tobias Harris had a put-back for two. However, attention was directed to the other end of the court, where a full-on scuffle happened between big men Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns.
Karl-Anthony Towns… the Eagles fan?
Growing up in Edison, New Jersey, KAT grew up a huge fan of Philly sports. As his main focus was the Eagles, KAT attended Super Bowl 52 when the Eagles defeated the Patriots 41-33. He was caught on video celebrating with his significant other and was crying during it as well (just like the rest of us). He was quoted saying, “I’ve never been so happy,” and even joined the team on the field and snapped a quick picture with Tight End Zach Ertz.”
With his passion for Philly, how could fans hate this guy?
Oh yeah, Joel Embiid, that’s why.
Embiid and KAT have a history of trash-talking to one another. The feud began back in December of 2017. Following a win, Embiid posted this photo on Instagram. Towns then called out his caption, which led to Embiid replying with, “not as trash as your defense.”
After a 118-109 win on March 24, 2018, Embiid also immediately took to Instagram to continue this trend.
Going into the season, Embiid looked to avoid the trash talk and “just play the game he loves.” Embiid was quoted saying, “Going into the season I kinda said I was gonna try to stay from all that (trash talking). But, you know, like I said before I never start anything. I always react. I guess it always finds me.”
Last night’s brawl
The Cause: Bully Ball
Coach Brett Brown was quoted by saying he wants his team to play with aggression. Coach Brown wants the Sixers’ to play “bully ball,” and play with an edge.
Embiid was assigned to back KAT down all night. Each possession, you could see Embiid posting up, leading to him bullying his way to the hoop. Just exactly what Brett Brown wanted to see. However, Towns was not a fan of it.
As the ball transitioned to the offensive end, Embiid and KAT looked to be tangled up. The two began to take it to another level, where Towns looks like he then threw the first punch.
Before anything could escalate, security, head coaches, and other players (already on the court) ran to the scene. With the exception of Al Horford, who was standing back taking it all in, the Sixers’ backcourt turned into a WWE scene.
Simmons, being a friend of KAT, obviously was not looking to cause any further drama. However, the guard did clamp Towns down during the fight. Immediately as he got involved, Simmons put KAT in a headlock to keep him low to the ground.
Funny enough, you can see KAT “tap-out” in the video of the altercation, essentially throwing Sixers’ twitter into a frenzy.
Ah, Mike Scott. The guy who defines grit and passion and loves himself a brawl.
Embiid’s first reaction after getting involved was to hype the crowd up. As always, the initial view of Embiid is him smiling, taking in the moment. Soon enough though, Joel went up to Mike Scott.
Scott dapped Embiid up and fed into the hype. Upon further replay, you can see Scott smiling and loving every moment of the action. He was essentially a proud father of Embiid.
Mike Scott defines Philly’s passion. After the game, he was quoted saying, ”
“It was definitely entertaining. Let’s get all the bad sh*t out: you don’t wanna condone it, the kids were watching, we’ll see what the league does… But I loved it. It was great. He probably did — Nah, that was great, f**k that, that was great…”
That is one thing Philly fans love to see.
Knowing this, Embiid immediately got the crowd into it. Shadowboxing, waving his arms in the air, and smiling the whole way. Embiid knows how to excite the fans.
“I was built for this city, and they were built for me. The reaction and the love they have for me, I can’t thank them enough…That’s what the city of Philadelphia is about. You gotta come in here, you gotta fight. You know you gotta play hard. You gotta be gritty.”
Chants of MVP echoed through Wells Fargo Center as Embiid exited. Embiid acknowledged these after the game and knew he was made to play for Philly.
Being the guy Embiid is, he took to Instagram and Twitter after the game. He posted the picture below, which gained a lot of positive attention from his teammates.
Just when you thought it was over, KAT fired back with a post of his own.
Embiid obviously could not let Towns get the last word, so he made sure to comment on KAT’s Instagram post. Embiid replied with the comment below, which ultimately was deleted by Towns.
Aside from the countless Twitter memes and entertainment, more is going to stem from this brawl. Coach Brett Brown mentioned he feared an “Amare and Boris situation,” two players who left the bench during an on-court brawl. Brown did well of this, getting involved right away. However, this does not mean those involved will not get suspended.
Even though Embiid feels that he will not be suspended since he did not throw a punch, it’s inevitable.
Reflecting on just last October, a fight broke out between Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo at Staples Center. The league issued suspensions to both players but were fairly light in their decision. Carmelo Anthony, who was suspended in 2006 for throwing a punch, could not play in 15 games. Paul received a two-game suspension for poking Rondo in the face and throwing punches. Rondo was punished for three games for spitting and throwing punches. And Brandon Ingram received a four-game ban for starting and escalating the fight.
My prediction is that both players will be suspended. Since not much really led up to it, I do not think that the suspensions will be for more than two games each. As for Ben Simmons, the referees deemed him as a “peacemaker,” but I fully expect him to be under review also.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Avid Philly fan and future educator
Student at Stockton University