USA TODAY Sports’ Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt discuss whether the West is in a league of its own in the NBA. USA TODAY Sports
Joel Embiid called the play “dirty” and said he wouldn’t forget about a second-half shove to his back from Miami center Hassan Whiteside on Thursday night.
The two drew double fouls but Whiteside was called for a technical after play got chippy early in the third quarter of Miami’s eventual win.
“He tried to hit me in the back, which is kind of dirty because of the fact that I’ve had back problems,” Embiid said. “We’re going to see about that. I won’t forget about that.”
Whiteside appeared to shove Embiid’s back and inadvertently hit himself in the face.
“He hits really soft, so I didn’t feel anything,” Embiid said. “But just the action of him trying to like do that is pretty messed up.”
Of the play in question, Embiid said, “I didn’t think I touched him. But then they called a technical foul on him because obviously he’s the one that made a dirty play.”
Late in the fourth quarter, Whiteside dunked emphatically and came close to straddling Embiid.
“I think he’s pretty messed up,” Embiid said. “I don’t care what we have outside of basketball,” referring to social media barbs earlier this season.
“But at the same time, you’ve got to respect the rules of basketball.”
After the loss, Philadelphia was in the No. 6 seed at 35-29, sitting one full game ahead of Miami in the standings. The East is so close both teams could jump up to the No. 4 or No. 5 seed depending on how the final month plays out.