Even if you didn’t watch the NBA season opener between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers, you surely still heard about the extracurriculars between Marcus Smart and Joel Embiid. But according to the Celtics point guard, Philly’s big man got off easy.
“I could have cracked his head open, but I didn’t, and that’s the maturity we have,” Smart said with a shrug when asked about the incident after the fact.
Things unraveled quickly during the third quarter of Tuesday’s game when the two players got tangled up going for a rebound and Embiid appeared to catch Smart in an armbar. Shortly after collapsing to the ground in pain, Smart reached out for Embiid’s leg and the 7-foot center quickly crumbled to the court.
After the subsequent scuffle was broken up, Smart was hit with a technical foul.
“Referee blows his whistle, calls a foul, I stop play, my arm’s still stuck in there and he tries to break it,” Smart explained his point of view. “And then I’m the only one who gets a tech. … If I did that, I’d probably be ejected, suspended three games, four games, fines. But the fact that I was the only one that got something out of that is kind of beyond me.”
Of course, Embiid didn’t see things that way. “They had called a foul and I walked away, next thing I know, my foot is getting caught up, and I slipped,” he said, via CBS Sports’ Michael Kaskey-Blomain. “Next thing, Jaylen [Brown] was on top of me and I don’t know. Basketball, emotions, first game of the season, rivalry, Boston-Philly, a lot of intensity. It’s all good.”
We’ll just have to wait and see if it’s still “all good” when the teams face each other a second time this season on Feb. 8.