Things could be better right now for the Philadelphia 76ers. At 33-21 they are currently fifth in the East, 13 games back of the Bucks and five games back of Boston for the all-important three seed that assures you won’t see Milwaukee until the conference finals.
The good news is, they’ve won two in a row, but at 5-5 over their last 10 they are not exactly hitting their stride. There’s some apparent dysfunction in the locker room — or, at the least, players not comfortable in their roles — and the result has been some incredibly uneven play this season. That frustration was apparent on Sunday when they faced the Bulls, eventually pulling away to a 118-111 win, but not without hearing some from the Philly faithful.
Joel Embiid was the one who shut the door on the Bulls, hitting a dagger three from the left wing and he shushed at the Sixers crowd and can be seen saying “shut the f*ck up” as he jogs back on defense.
Joel Embiid tells the crowd to STFU after this dagger 🗡 pic.twitter.com/BRHlZXtC5w
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) February 10, 2020
After the game, Embiid clarified what happened, saying he was mostly mad at himself, but did note that he’s trying to get back to his old self, which he described as “a good asshole.”
Embiid explanation when he shushed after the three is that he was “talking to myself…I’m just mad at myself, frustrated, gotta keep trying to get better every single play”
“I don’t care how it looks, I’m just playing basketball, getting back to myself, being a good asshole”
— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) February 10, 2020
It’s a pretty fantastic description of himself, and it’s not the first time we’ve heard Embiid note he’s having an internal dilemma about how much he should be trash talking and embracing that part of his game. He seems to have decided he needs to let that out at times, and if it results in more 28-point, 12-rebound performances in wins, the Philly faithful won’t care who his taunts are directed at, even if at times it’s seemingly towards them.