Skip to main content

Joel Embiid knew what he was in for.

From the moment he was announced into the starting lineup for the Philadelphia 76ers, the booing began. It was unrelenting. Every time he touched the ball, the soldout crowd of Toronto Raptors fans let him hear it. 

"It's always a tough place to play at especially in the playoffs," Embiid said. "They've got great fans. They're loud. I knew coming into Toronto I was definitely going to be the bad guy."

Early in the night, the crowd seemed to get to Embiid. He had four uncharacteristic turnovers in the first half and couldn't get anything going from the floor. Usually, that's a good sign for the Raptors who know early frustrations for Embiid typically unravel into an off night as the game goes on.

But three years after Embiid famously walked off the court in tears following Kawhi Leonard's Game 7 series-clinching shot, the 76ers' big man showed how far he's come. He didn't wilt under the pressure or let the booing get to him. Instead, he nailed tough shots one after another, capping the night off with a turnaround game-winner from three-point range.

"I don't get riled up," he said. "I didn't really hear them. Obviously, a couple times, every time I was touching the ball they would boo, but, if you know me, I do enjoy it. I love it because in the moments where you knock down a key shot or that last shot, everybody's quiet. I enjoy seeing them go home."

As he walked off the court, he and Raptors faithful had some choice words for one another with expletives sent both ways.

"Toronto, they've got great fans. I love them. I love the back and forth," he said. "It's a great city."

Further Reading

Precious Achiuwa highlights the importance of playoff reps, but a 3-0 hole leaves Raptors nearing extinction

Fred VanVleet discusses stopping James Harden as Raptors search for answers

Scottie Barnes attends shootaround without walking boot, Gary Trent Jr. cleared to play