Friday, March 24 2023
Jan 25, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Nic Claxton (33) reacts after a Philadelphia 76ers score during the fourth quarter at Wells Fargo Center.

Jan 25, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Nic Claxton (33) reacts after a Philadelphia 76ers score during the fourth quarter at Wells Fargo Center. / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It felt like a boxing match between the Nets and 76ers in Philadelphia on Wednesday night.

Not only were both teams — poised to make the playoffs — looking to show the other who was better, but it was physical and heated at times.

None more heated than when Joel Embiid and Nic Claxton got into each other’s face after what the Philly center felt was a foul on his shot attempt. What resulted was a lot of jawing and, eventually, double technicals before cooler heads prevailed.

“I blocked his shot, he was upset there was no foul call. I said something to him, he told me to repeat it, I repeated it and he walked up on me,” Claxton said after the game. “I don’t know how I got a tech when I said one thing and I’m just sitting there standing. I’ll take it, it’s a double tech. It’s just competition, just having some fun. That’s all it is.”

Embiid saw the events of that incident a bit differently.

“He said something he shouldn’t have,” the former No. 3 overall pick said. “That’s why when I walked up to his face, I told him to say it to my face again. That’s why he looked away and he didn’t say it again. He knows why.”

The theme of the night was “chippiness.” Both teams were fouling hard, arguing with the refs, more than usual, and talking a lot of smack. It was a playoff atmosphere and it was apparent that each side wanted to win this game, and the Nets despite being down 17 at one point made a comeback that fell just short.

“That’s what you expect coming here. As a competitor that’s what you want. You love coming into an environment like a Philly or Boston,” Claxton said. “There’s not many places that have the crowd really into it like they were tonight. It was a hostile environment and it’s just tough to take an L.”

“There’s a difference between intensity and playing with emotion, and being too emotional. I thought, honestly, on our side we were on the wrong side of that tonight,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said. “We‘ll take the win. …That’s a good test for us. We have to be better as far as in handling our emotions in a game like this.”

After Wednesday’s game, the 76ers increased their lead over the Nets to two games. That’s the amount of games that separate the No. 2 76ers and No. 4 seeded Nets in the Eastern Conference, so every win is important.

It’s also the second win by the 76ers over Brooklyn this season. The first coming in November, again, at Philly.

If the Nets hope to overcome the 76ers in the standings, they’ll have another crack at them on Feb. 11 when they’ll take their budding rivalry to Brooklyn, before ending the regular season against each other on April 9 at Barclays Center.

Source: Yahoo Sports


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