Sixers' Joel Embiid Reacts to Marcus Smart's Criticism on Wednesday

Marcus Smart called Joel Embiid out on Wednesday night.
Publish date:

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart wasn't happy with the way things went down on Wednesday night in South Philly. As the Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers met for the first time this season, the Sixers came out on top with a 117-109 win after trailing for a good portion of the game.

Once again, Sixers center Joel Embiid flashed star power and put on an MVP-caliber performance. However, Marcus Smart was hardly impressed as he believes that a lot of Embiid's game-high 42 points were generated by bad foul calls due to the Sixers big man's flopping.

"He shot, alone 21 free-throws? Our team shot 20. . . Can't beat that," Smart said after the game. "It's tough, especially when we got our hands up a lot of the time, and he flails and gets the call. Then down on the other end, we got our guys attacking the rim, getting a lot of contact, and we're not getting the whistle. It's tough to play like that. If the roles were reversed and I do it every time -- I'd be on too."

In 32 minutes of action on Wednesday, Embiid earned the opportunity to shoot 21 free throws. On the other hand, the Celtics shot just 20 free throws as a team. Smart made a valid point that it's difficult to win games when foul shot attempts are so lopsided, but Embiid couldn't believe who the message was coming from.

"Marcus Smart just told me that I flail a lot?" Embiid asked back. "Come on. . . I'm sure he knows himself, and he knows his game too. He does a lot of that." Although Embiid has admitted in the past that he's flopped on occasion, the big man doesn't agree with the notion that he was being handed out calls on Wednesday.

"The game is physical," Embiid stated. "Other teams tend to try and be extra physical against me. And I guess that I'm just smarter than everybody else. I just take advantage of it. I just take advantage of how they're guarding me."

"You can call that -- I don't know, basketball IQ," he continued. "Like, if you're going to put your hand up there, I'm gonna take advantage of it, and I'm gonna get to the free-throw line because I know that I'm a great free throw shooter, and that's a better chance for me to help the team win in those situations."

Embiid and Smart will meet once again on Friday as the Sixers, and the Celtics are set to play at the Wells Fargo Center for the second time this year. Based on Wednesday night's results, we could see another physical matchup between the two teams as Boston will likely enter the matchup with a chip on their shoulder. 

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_