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#pounditThursday, June 30, 2022

Joel Embiid

Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid trade words early in 76ers-Nets game

Kevin Durant talks to Joel Embiid

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Kevin Durant and Joel Embiid were trading words during a game between their teams.

It didn’t take long on Thursday night for KD and Embiid to start talking during the Brooklyn Nets-Philadelphia 76ers game. Late in the first quarter, the two star players traded words.

The words continued after the end of the first quarter:

The sort of heated talk between the players was to be expected. When their teams met earlier this season, there were words and gestures traded after the end of their teams’ respective wins.

Durant has tremendous respect for Embiid, and vice versa. So the heated confrontations and talk between them is a signal that they are in the middle of high-level competition.

Durant had a monster first half with 18 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists as Brooklyn took a 72-51 lead. Embiid had 21 points and 8 rebounds at the half. But James Harden struggled with his shot and went 3/15 to begin the game.

Considering all the beef between the teams (they recently swapped stars James Harden for Ben Simmons), fans would love to see a full 7-game playoff series between the squads.

Shaq offended by comparison of 76ers stars to him and Kobe Bryant duo

Shaq sitting courtside

The tandem of James Harden and Joel Embiid seems to be pretty lethal so far, but Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t want to hear any comparisons between those two and his famous duo.

Shaq talked on his “The Big Podcast with Shaq” about the Harden trade to Philadelphia. Shaq was asked whether Harden/Embiid could compare to him and Kobe, who teamed together on the Los Angeles Lakers from 1996-2004, winning three championships. Shaq took offense to the suggestion.

“No,” O’Neal said when asked if the Harden/Embiid duo could compare to him and Kobe. “No. Hell no. Not after one year. Me and Kobe had eight years of damage together. No, not even close. Stop it. Listen, no, hell no and f— no.”

That’s a pretty convincing response.

The 76ers are 5-0 in games when Harden plays. Harden is an excellent scorer and dangerous 3-point shooter, with his scoring ability similar to Kobe Bryant’s. Embiid is a dominant big man, which is what Shaq was, though Shaq could unbelievably overpower his opponents.

Harden and Embiid are showing signs that they can be a great pairing. But until they rack up a few championships, the comparisons to Shaq and Kobe won’t hold water. Keep in mind though that this isn’t a slight towards the 76ers, since Shaq has shown his support of Embiid. It’s just that you can’t compare a tandem that has played five games together against one that had 8 years.

Photo: Mar 10, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; NBA former player Shaquille O’Neal watches a game between the Atlanta Hawks and Toronto Raptors in the third quarter at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 105-99. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Embiid gets in another shot at ex-Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo

Joel Embiid holds a basketball

Joel Embiid appears to have reached basketball nirvana, and he can’t help but reflect on how far his team has come since just a few years ago.

After the Philadephia 76ers defeated the New York Knicks on Wednesday to improve to a perfect 3-0 in the James Harden era, Embiid spoke on all the ups and downs that he has gone through with the team. He also got in another jab at former 76ers GM Bryan Colangelo for good measure.

“I’ve been through a lot,” said Embiid, per NBC Sports Philadelphia. “Whether it’s, you talk about, you know, freakin’ GMs using burner accounts, talking trash on their players.”

Embiid also noted the firing of Brett Brown, whom Embiid says he thought would be his coach for the rest of his career, as well as the significant roster turnover for the team since Embiid was drafted in 2014.

You may recall that Colangelo, who was Sixers GM from 2016 to 2018, was caught in an embarrassing scandal where he allegedly used burner Twitter accounts to diss the team’s own players. While it turned out that it was not actually Colangelo who was behind the accounts, the faux pas still led to his downfall as he ended up resigning from his post. Embiid also took plenty of shots at Colangelo at the time of the scandal.

These days however, Embiid, who is now the longest-tenured player on the 76ers, finally has a co-star in Harden who seems to mesh perfectly with him, putting the team in a position to get over the hump in the East at long last. Thus, it is safe to say that the Sixers has come a long way since having to worry about egg profiles on Twitter.

Photo: Nov 27, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) warms up before action against the Sacramento Kings at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Embiid reacts to first game playing with James Harden

Joel Embiid holds a basketball

The Philadelphia 76ers spent an arm and a leg to acquire James Harden from the Brooklyn Nets in early February. There’s no certainty he’ll remain with the team beyond 2022, which means every game paired with Joel Embiid is of the utmost importance.

On Friday night, Harden made his 76ers debut and if the results are any indication of what’s to come, Philly fans have plenty of reason to be elated.

In a 133-102 drubbing of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Harden posted 27 points to go along with 12 assists and eight rebounds. But that doesn’t necessarily reflect just how impactful he was.

MVP-frontrunner Joel Embiid had an even better night thanks to Harden’s presence, scoring 34 points, while recording 10 rebounds and four assists. After the game, he couldn’t wipe the ear-to-ear smile off his face, claiming it’s the most wide open he’s ever been.

“That was probably the most wide-open I’ve ever been in my career,” Embiid said. “I had a lot of easy baskets. I used to have to go for everything, but in the fourth quarter, the shot-making ability, shot creation…you should’ve seen my face. I was just like, ‘I’ve never had this,’ nothing close to it. So, hopefully that continues.”

Embiid wasn’t the only one thrilled with how things panned out. Harden said he was “extremely happy,” while Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said, “I try not to get too high or too low, but that was a good one.”

There’s a lot of excitement in and around Philly right now and the sudden momentum could carry them a ways.

Photo: Nov 27, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) warms up before action against the Sacramento Kings at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Embiid takes another subtle shot at Ben Simmons

Joel Embiid during a game

Joel Embiid’s middle name might as well be “Savage” at this point.

Speaking with reporters this week, the Philadelphia 76ers star commented on the addition of former MVP James Harden to the team. Harden will be making his Sixers debut on Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“It’s not going to be hard,” said Embiid of adjusting to Harden’s presence in the Philly lineup, per The Athletic’s Rich Hofmann. “We’re not talking about non-shooters or guys that are limited offensively. We’re talking about James Harden. You see what he did in Houston, whether it was scoring the ball and then going to Brooklyn and all the talent offensively.”

It does not take a rocket scientist to see that the “non-shooters” comment was a subtle swipe at Simmons, who was Embiid’s former co-star. Simmons is perhaps the single most notorious non-shooter in the NBA. His offensive limitations also arguably led to the souring of his relationship with Embiid.

For Embiid, who tried his best to make it work with Simmons during their five-plus years together, he has never been one to hold his tongue. Now that the two are no longer teammates, Embiid is definitely not holding his tongue about Simmons, as he has shown time and time again in recent weeks.

Photo: Jan 6, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) looks on during the second quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Embiid reveals last time he spoke with Ben Simmons

Joel Embiid holds a basketball

The relationship between Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons appeared to deteriorate rather quickly after the end of last season, but the two apparently did speak to one another before Simmons was traded to the Brooklyn Nets.

Embiid spoke about the Simmons situation with ESPN’s Malika Andrews this week. The Philadelphia 76ers star called Simmons a “great player” who is going to help the Nets, but Embiid said it go to the point where he didn’t care about Simmons anymore. He also said he last heard from his former teammate a week or so before the NBA trade deadline.

“He’s a great player and I think whatever he’s gonna add to Brooklyn is gonna take them to another level,” Embiid said. “I did a lot of chasing around, trying to get him back and trying to make him feel comfortable again. It was tough. I didn’t care anymore.”

There is clearly no love lost between Embiid and Simmons. The two were said to be having issues even before Embiid threw Simmons under the bus following last year’s playoffs. When Simmons refused to report to the Sixers during the offseason, Embiid made it clear he no longer supported him.

If you want to know how Embiid feels about Simmons, look no further than the meme the MVP candidate tweeted out after Simmons was traded. The two probably won’t be spending holidays together going forward.

Photo: Nov 27, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) warms up before action against the Sacramento Kings at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Embiid takes photo with man from infamous meme

Joel Embiid holds a basketball

Joel Embiid went viral during the NBA trade deadline for his reaction to the Ben Simmons trade. Now he is going viral again for meeting with the man behind the original meme.

Embiid reacted to the trade with a savage meme. The meme was a photo of a man attending the funeral of his hater to make sure the man was dead (seen here).

When asked by reporters about the photo he posted, Embiid gave a humorous explanation.

The man behind the meme goes by “Big Fendi TV” on Instagram. He attended NBA All-Star Weekend in Cleveland and even took a photo with Embiid:

Here is a repost of the original meme:

That is a classic.

Photo: Nov 27, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) warms up before action against the Sacramento Kings at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Embiid issues warning for NBA after James Harden trade

Joel Embiid during a game

Joel Embiid and James Harden have yet to share the floor, as the latter is still recovering from a hamstring injury. But when the two Philadelphia 76ers stars do eventually suit up together, Embiid thinks it is going to be a problem for the rest of the NBA — scary, even.

Embiid continued to dominate on Thursday night with 42 points and 14 rebounds in a 123-120 win over the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. He said after the game that he is excited to play with Harden, who is expected to return after the All-Star Break. Embiid issued a funny warning to the rest of the NBA for when the two can finally play together.

Harden said last year that it was going to be “scary hours” for the NBA when the Brooklyn Nets got Kyrie Irving back from injury. He even used the phrase on social media.

Embiid put his own personal spin on it, saying he and Harden are going to be playing “scary minutes” together.

It will be interesting to see how Embiid and Harden mesh, especially considering Embiid is already having an MVP-caliber season. We know the excitement is genuine, as evidenced by Embiid trying to pull off one of Harden’s signature moves on the court. He failed miserably, of course (video here).

The Sixers improved to 35-23 with their win over Milwaukee. They entered Friday 2.5 games back of the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Photo: Jan 6, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) looks on during the second quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Video: Joel Embiid tried to do James Harden’s stepback, failed miserably

Joel Embiid's stepback attempt

Joel Embiid still has a lot to learn from his new teammate.

Video went viral Tuesday of James Harden, the newest Philadelphia 76er, teaching Embiid his trademark stepback move in practice. Take a look.

Embiid must have fancied himself a quick learner because he tried the move that very same night in a game against the Boston Celtics. Instead of getting the basket though, Embiid ended up getting a spot on “Shaqtin’ A Fool.”

Even despite blatantly travelling (and being whistled for it), Embiid still got his shot rejected. The 76ers would also go on to lose to the Celtics by 48 points (135-87). All this to say that Embiid has probably had better days.

Harden’s stepback is so famous that even players in other some sports have imitated him. But it took Harden a long time to perfect the move, and it will take Embiid a lot longer than one day to get it down, as he learned the hard way on Tuesday.

Joel Embiid goes viral for huge dunk on Jarrett Allen

Joel Embiid dunks

Joel Embiid put together a huge game for the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night, and there was one highlight of his that went viral.

Embiid missed a free throw late in the second quarter of his Sixers’ 103-93 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. His teammate, Georges Niang, got an offensive rebound and passed the ball back out to him.

Embiid then went for a dunk and soared over Jarrett Allen for the dunk.

Here’s the photo the Sixers shard that circulated:

Fans loved the dunk. One even cracked a great joke about it.

The tweet was a response to Embiid’s savage meme posted on Thursday.

Embiid didn’t just put up a big highlight. He also scored 40 points in a triple-double.

After the win, Embiid said that the big dunk helped make a dream of his come true.