It had been awhile since Joel Embiid decided to #ThrusttheProcess.
But in an emotionally-fueled win over Ben Simmons and the Nets Wednesday he channeled his inner Shawn Michaels and Triple H using DX’s patented “suck it” move to celebrate an and-one in the middle of the third.
Joel Embiid with an And-1 and DMX hip thrust— Sean Barnard (@Sean_Barnard1) January 26, 2023
15-yard flag for getting the third pump in. Thrust the Process is back pic.twitter.com/WvL778V9uD
"To generate that force, to have that speed..."— Brock Landes (@LandesBrock) January 26, 2023
As Joel Embiid violently crotch chops the air pic.twitter.com/3nv9a4NHCq
Kevin Durant, missing his eighth straight with an MCL sprain, was live tweeting during much of the game. He did not care for Embiid’s celebration.
Trash celebration @JoelEmbiid— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) January 26, 2023
And Embiid’s response was nothing short of spectacular.
#SuckIt https://t.co/rVpradzgkW pic.twitter.com/xP8uJ3T6IA— Joel “Troel” Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) January 26, 2023
As you’ll recall from that video clip, Embiid and Durant have a fun history. They have a clear respect and admiration for each other ... but also love to talk shit. These tweets are in good fun amongst two competitive dudes.
That’s why when someone brought it up to Embiid as he walked to the podium tonight, the big man couldn’t help but laugh.
Before he got to the 76ers’ postgame press conference, Joel Embiid sent a troll reply to Kevin Durant on Twitter.— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) January 26, 2023
He couldn’t stop laughing. https://t.co/aXxcKXU7Ig pic.twitter.com/kUmvtyR4G9
The guy isn’t called Troel for nothing.
It wasn’t the most efficient night for Embiid as he seemingly got caught up in the emotion of his first matchup against Ben Simmons. He had 27 points but shot just 6 of 18 from the field. At times it felt like Embiid was more concerned with dunking on his former teammate than simply playing his game.
Though it was clear, Simmo the Savage didn’t want the smoke.
Ben Simmons did NOT want any smoke with Joel Embiid #BrotherlyLove #Sixers pic.twitter.com/rl2TI0XgQw— Philly Take with RB (@PhillyTakewRB) January 26, 2023
Ben Simmons wants nothing to do with Joel Embiid pic.twitter.com/b9l7DK1g2I— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) January 26, 2023
And to add to the fun, Embiid found a new player on Brooklyn to tussle with: Nic Claxton.
The young big man had a strong night against Embiid and the Sixers (after the Sixers’ backup center felt the need to give him bulletin board material). He finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds and is in the midst of his best stretch as a pro.
Early on, Embiid and Claxton got tangled up and then got into a back and forth. It ended with double technicals. Asked postgame what was said, Embiid didn’t elaborate much,
Joel Embiid on the back and forth with Nic Claxton: “He said something he shouldn’t have… I told him to say it to my face again, that’s why he looked away. He didn’t say it again because he knows why.” pic.twitter.com/jG1g54niRh— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) January 26, 2023
We won’t have to wait long for a rematch between these two teams. They’ll clash at Barclays Center on Feb. 11. Their fourth and final matchup will be in the (likely meaningless) final game of the regular season.
But if there are basketballs gods, we will get a Sixers-Nets playoff series with both teams at full strength.