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 a lot better. The four-time All-Star, who had been recovering from a knee damage, was ready to play in opposition to his outdated buddy Karl-Anthony Towns.
Buddy? No, that does not appear proper. Maybe it could be extra correct to describe the Timberwolves middle as Embiid’s basketball nemesis.
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A fast refresher: Back in October 2019, Embiid and Towns had been ejected from a sport 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 their roles within the “on-court altercation” and for their “continued escalation” on-line.
Does that imply Embiid and Towns actually hate one another? No, most likely not, but it surely does make their matchups intense and entertaining to watch.
In the primary half of Saturday’s contest, Towns put Embiid on a poster with a one-handed dunk, and he let Embiid find out about it.
Embiid answered later by hitting Towns with a fast crossover, creating contact and ending an off-balance shot. He celebrated with a collection of crotch chops that will make Triple H and Shawn Michaels proud.
Towns had 17 factors and eight rebounds by means of the primary 24 minutes of motion, whereas Embiid totaled 15 factors and 7 rebounds.
Two of the NBA’s most proficient younger stars exhibiting off their abilities and mixing in some animosity? Yes, extra of that, please.