Per Derek Bodner of The Athletic, Embiid retaliated to Smart's criticism by telling the Celtics guard to look at himself in the mirror.
“Marcus Smart just told me that I flail a lot? Come on. I'm sure he knows himself and he knows his game. You know he does a lot of that,” the Sixers big man shared.
Embiid did not deny that flopping is part of his antics. Rather, he expressed his belief that this tactic is his way of outsmarting his opponents. For JoJo, the rule is simple: if you get too aggressive, he'll use that over-eagerness to get to the free-throw line and score some points.
For what it's worth, in the Sixers' 117-109 victory, the Cameroonian dropped 42 points and snagged 10 rebounds.
“The game is physical, other teams tend to try to be extra physical against me, and I guess I'm just smarter than everybody else…If you're gonna put your hand up there, I'm gonna take advantage of it and I'm gonna get to the free-throw line,” Embiid continued.
The tension between Marcus Smart and Joel Embiid is expected. The Celtics and the Sixers have been two of the best teams in the East for the past couple of years. They have face one another in the playoffs multiple times. Last year, Boston gave the Sixers a 4-0 beatdown in the first round of the postseason.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens was more objective in his observation of Embiid's outburst. Of course, he wasn't happy that the Sixers ‘ star big man dropped 42 on them, but he credited him for being patient when the double team came.
“He's going to score some, but 42 is too much,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said, per the Associated Press via ESPN. “I thought not only did he score those points, he also handed the double (team) pretty well and on a couple of occasions, it led to 3-pointers.”
The two teams will battle again on Friday in Philly.