Embiid, Smart accuse each other of embellishing contact
Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart aired some complaints about Joel Embiid's style of play Wednesday, accusing the star center of embellishing contact during the Philadelphia 76ers' 117-109 win over the Celtics.
Embiid, however, disagreed with Smart's assessment of his game while making the same criticisms of the Celtics guard.
"Marcus Smart just told me that I flail a lot?" Embiid said postgame, according to ESPN's Tim Bontemps. "Come on. I'm sure he knows himself, and he knows his game, too, he does a lot of that. And I don't think I do. I mean, if you watch basketball and if you're a student of the game and if you actually pay attention during the game, we all see.
"Every single foul, I get fouled. ... The game is physical. Other teams tend to try to be extra physical against me. And I guess I'm just smarter than everybody else. ... I just take advantage of how they're guarding me.
"You can call that, I don't know, basketball IQ, like if you're going to put your hand up there, I'm gonna take advantage of it and I'm gonna get to the free-throw line because I know that I'm a great free-throw shooter, and that's a better chance for me to help the team win."
If getting to the foul line was his goal, Embiid succeeded. The Cameroonian shot 17-for-21 on free throws en route to 42 points Wednesday, giving him 40-plus points for the second time in his last three games.
The Celtics, meanwhile, attempted just 20 free throws as a team, converting 13 of them.
Smart suggested officials weren't calling fouls equally between the teams.
"It is tough," Smart said. "Especially when we've got our hands up a lot of the times, and he flails and gets the call, and then down on the other end, we've got our guys attacking the rim, getting a lot of contact and we're just not getting the whistle. It's tough to play like that. It's tough.
"If the roles were reversed, I'd do it every time. I mean, I'd be on too if every time I threw my arms up or every time I got touched I'm going to the free-throw line. I mean, it's kind of hard not to get into a rhythm that way when you shoot 21 free throws alone and they allow you to hack on the other end."
The two teams meet again Friday in Philadelphia.