A loss to a shorthanded Indiana Pacers team was an inauspicious start for the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA Disney World reboot, especially when the team’s star center was seen in a heated confrontation with a teammate on the bench.
Joel Embiid and Shake Milton argue on Sixers bench
Joel Embiid and Shake Milton had to be separated after a rocky first quarter in Orlando. pic.twitter.com/rpddHNEK4X— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) August 1, 2020
The Sixers would eventually lose 127-121, mostly thanks to Pacers forward T.J. Warren’s career-high 53 points. Embiid did all he could on the floor, scoring 41 points on 15-of-23 shooting with 21 rebounds, four assists and three blocks. Milton finished with zero points and three assists in 19 minutes.
After the game, Embiid downplayed the confrontation to reporters as a standard miscommunication.
From NBC Sports Philadelphia:
“It’s basketball,” he said. “Everybody makes mistakes. It happens. We’ve gotta communicate better. As players, it happens everywhere. … You discuss what’s going on and you move on, you find a solution. But it’s nothing. It happens. It happens on every team and you just figure it out and you move on, and I’m sure everybody’s going to be better moving forward.”
Sixers head coach Brett Brown took a similar tack, calling the exchange “healthy” and something they will move on from:
“You don’t go cheerleading stuff like that all the time, but if the conversation’s gotta be had, it’s gotta be had,” Brown said. “And I actually think that stuff like that is far more healthy than anything. Shake’s teammates love Shake Milton. They’re proud of his evolution. And then you’ve got an NBA All-Star in Joel Embiid that has an idea. He’s the center, back directing traffic — the pick-and-roll policeman.
"I don’t know the full details of it, but I think, for the most part, it’s healthy. And those two will move on quickly. They’re good friends, it’s just sometimes stuff like that happens in a family.”
At 39-27, the Sixers now find themselves in sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings with seven games to play. They can’t slip lower than sixth, but are now one game back from the Pacers for fifth place and three games back from the Miami Heat for fourth.
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