During the Philadelphia 76ers' 118-115 victory against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, Marcus Smart and Joel Embiid got in an altercation that almost escalated into a fistfight. Smart pushed Embiid hard, causing him to fall down on the floor. The latter then stood up and headed towards the former's direction. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and they were separated immediately.
During the Celtics' practice Thursday afternoon, Smart was asked about the incident, and he gave his side of the story.
— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) March 22, 2019
Embiid and Smart are two of the most tenacious defenders in the league. They do not back down from any challenge. They're also two of the toughest guys in the league, and will definitely have no problem confronting another player when provoked.
However, the Sixers and Celtics are both gearing up for the playoffs, and any suspensions against their key players would definitely hurt their chances of making a deep run, especially since it is highly likely that they're the ones who will meet in the first round.
Both players know this, but emotions can get the best of anyone. Still, it was good to see that it didn't escalate into something ugly. But expect both players to go at it again come postseason.
There will absolutely be no love lost between these teams, but as long as they keep things clean, fans can expect them to have an intense seven-game series should they meet in the postseason.