The Eastern Conference Semifinal series between the Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks has been spicy throughout, as the four-seed Hawks entered Friday night with a 3-2 series lead and both eyes on punching their ticket to the conference finals. But first, they had to win Game 6, and in the game’s waning moments, a fracas broke out involving Joel Embiid and John Collins.
Philly found itself up, 92-85, with just over four minutes left in the fourth quarter. Embiid was battling down low and attempted to bowl through Collins en route to a layup, but was called for an offensive foul as both dudes hit the deck hard with Embiid landing on Collins.
While on the ground, Collins shoved Embiid, who got up and went chest-to-chest with the opposing big man. It’s unclear if Embiid began forcing Collins backward or if Trae Young’s shoving in his back played a role, but the two had to be separated.
Joel Embiid and John Collins 😳 pic.twitter.com/6ixqHKROMa
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) June 19, 2021
According to Malika Andrews of ESPN, one element of this was Bruno Fernando of the Hawks coming off the bench.
Yeesh. An altercation between John Collins and Joel Embiid here in State Farm Arena. It appears that Bruno Fernando came off the Hawks' bench as Collins and Embiid tussled.
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) June 19, 2021
It was not the first time that the two got physical with one another during Game 6. Earlier in the contest, Collins went up for a lob over Embiid in which he wrapped his arm around the All-NBA center and caused him to hold his nose in some pain.
JOHN COLLINS DUNKS ALL OVER EMBIID 🤯
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 19, 2021
Ultimately, the foul against Embiid stood — Doc Rivers challenged it to no avail — and both Embiid or Collins were hit with technical fouls before play resumed.