Joel Embiid returned to the 76ers’ beginning lineup Saturday night time for the primary time since mid-March, and the timing could not have been significantly better. The four-time All-Star, who had been recovering from a knee harm, was capable of play in opposition to his previous buddy Karl-Anthony Cities.
Buddy? No, that does not appear proper. Possibly it could be extra correct to explain the Timberwolves middle as Embiid’s basketball nemesis.
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A fast refresher: Again in October 2019, Embiid and Cities have been ejected from a recreation following a brawl that noticed the massive males exchanging blows as they tumbled to the bottom. They then traded harsh verbal jabs on social media, and every participant earned a two-game suspension for his or her roles within the “on-court altercation” and for his or her “continued escalation” on-line.
Does that imply Embiid and Cities actually hate one another? No, in all probability not, but it surely does make their matchups intense and entertaining to look at.
Within the first half of Saturday’s contest, Cities put Embiid on a poster with a one-handed dunk, and he let Embiid find out about it.
Embiid answered later by hitting Cities with a fast crossover, creating contact and ending an off-balance shot. He celebrated with a sequence of crotch chops that will make Triple H and Shawn Michaels proud.
Cities had 17 factors and eight rebounds via the primary 24 minutes of motion, whereas Embiid totaled 15 factors and 7 rebounds.
Two of the NBA’s most gifted younger stars displaying off their expertise and mixing in some animosity? Sure, extra of that, please.