Both Marcus Smart and Joel Embiid have a history of tense encounters with one another, including Smart’s expulsion this year for shoving Embiid in the back, which was one of the numerous altercations between the two players over the course of their careers.
This pattern persisted during the third quarter of the Celtics’ season-opening victory against the 76ers on Tuesday night. It was Smart who went down after absorbing an elbow to the back from Embiid as the two battled for a rebound despite Smart being the one who was called for a foul. In the heated confrontation, Smart accused Embiid of engaging in dirty play.
In the aftermath of the incident, Smart and Jaylen Brown confronted Embiid, prompting a separation between the two groups by teammates and officials. The original calls of a personal foul on Smart and a technical foul were upheld after being reviewed by video.
What Marcus Smart said of incident with Joel Embiid
“Went for a rebound. Basketball play. Went for the steal. Basketball play. Referee blows his whistle, calls a foul. I stop play, my arm’s still stuck in there and he tries to break it. And then I’m the only one who gets a tech. Everybody saw it. I don’t have to keep talking about it. If I did that, I’m probably ejected, suspended three games, four games, fined.
“But the fact that I was the only one that got I guess something out of that is kind of beyond me. Especially defending DPOY and that’s how he gets treated. It’s tough. “Like I said, it’s maturity. I could have cracked his head open but I didn’t. And that’s the maturity we have. So we move on from it. It is what it is. And we control what we can control,” said Smart after the game.