By Peter Brennan

They had a fight last night at the Wells Fargo Center and a basketball game broke out.

That may sound simplistic, but when the Sixers and Minnesota Timberwolves squared off they really did!

The Sixers Joel Embiid and Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns were ejected for fighting in the third quarter, which is not surprising since they have a history of talking trash to each other. So when they shoved each other at the Wolves’ end of the court while the Sixers pushed the ball upcourt, Towns threw a punch that missed and put Embiid in a headlock.

Embiid and Towns were tossed after a video review.

“We deemed the altercation a fight. Therefore, by rule, they’re both ejected,” Mark Ayotte, the officials’ crew chief, told a pool reporter after the game. “I just saw them each lock arms. And that escalated to the fight.”

Brown said after the game that he’s not concerned that Embiid will receive a suspension, saying he didn’t see any punches thrown and that Embiid did not instigate the fight.

Afterward, Embiid made light of the situation in a post on his Twitter account, writing in part, “Great team win!!! I was raised around lions and a cat pulled on me tonight.”

View image on Twitter

Embiid said no incident with Towns earlier in the game was a factor in their altercation, and that “it kind of happened out of nowhere.”

“I felt like you could see a lot of things the previous three possessions in the post.” he said. “I kind of got it the way I wanted to, and then — I don’t know, I guess that last possession, we got them to turn the ball over, and my hand was staying tangled up. And next thing I know, he’s holding me; we’re holding each other.

“But it’s basketball. That’s what I’m good at — I like to get in people’s minds.”

Towns didn’t get into specifics, instead saying, “It was a competitive game” in response to multiple questions about the fight.

“As you can see tonight, [Towns’] got a lot of fight in him,” Wolves guard Jeff Teague told reporters. “Last year, I wouldn’t say he wouldn’t do that or he would’ve took it, but he’s here to make a statement. I think tonight it just showed a lot of heart. I’m riding with him.”

At the bottom of the scrum, Embiid’s teammate Ben Simmons had his forearm around Towns’ throat as he forcefully held his opponent down. Ayotte said his crew deemed Simmons a “peacemaker” who was trying to break up the fight.

“Just making sure my teammate was good,” Simmons said. “I always got my teammate’s back.”

Embiid shadowboxed to the crowd’s delight on his way back to the locker room, and fans responded with “MVP!” chants. He said he didn’t expect to be suspended for his part in the incident.

“All I did was try to be as cool as I could in that situation. Personally, I didn’t throw any punches, so I shouldn’t get suspended,” he said. “But they have a history of just overruling anything that comes to me in a subtle way — so hopefully they’ll overrule it in the right way, but I don’t expect it.”


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