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Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers are in the middle of an Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Miami Heat, but the star centre took a shot at Toronto Raptors fans Friday for their behaviour after his injury in the first round.
After making his series debut in a Game 3 win against the Heat, Embiid stated in his post-game press conference that he no longer views Raptors supporters as a "great" fan base.
Embiid, 28, sustained an orbital fracture and concussion in the series-clinching Game 6 win against Toronto, as he took an incidental elbow from Pascal Siakam in the waning moments of the contest. As a result, the MVP candidate missed the first two games of the second-round series against the Heat.
Upon receiving the blow to the face, the Scotiabank Arena crowd erupted in “F*** Embiid” chants, even as he was in noticeable pain.
The play where Joel Embiid got injured pic.twitter.com/GYWDUxupoU
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) April 30, 2022
While the Sixers star does not believe the elbow from Siakam was intentional, he did take offence to the vitriol being spewed by Toronto fans.
“I don't know. I don't think it was intentional, that's my guy, obviously," Embiid said. "It's unfortunate, I don't think he meant to do it. But I was more irritated by the perception of when that happened, really their fans. I've always thought they've had great fans, but it kind of changed my mind about their fans up there. Whether it was throughout the series, the F chants and all that stuff, that's cool. It never gets to me anyways, but I think they got mad because I did the airplane celebration.
"It's been going on in a few arenas these days, where fans feel like it's okay to just say 'f- - - somebody.' There's a bunch of kids in the arena, I don't think that should be okay even if there wasn't kids. But it's almost like, if you respond to it, it's almost like, in the Draymond situation, the league fines you. So to me, it doesn't bother me, I'm just speaking for really everybody in the NBA. If you give it, you also got to be able to take it. And I've said it about our fans too, when they boo, if the players are going to go back, you got to be able to take it too.”
“I was more irritated by the perception of when that happened by really their fans.”
Joel Embiid discusses Pascal Siakam’s elbow and his view of Raptors fans afterwards. pic.twitter.com/OAhXPTkC6W
— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) May 7, 2022
Embiid’s criticism of Raptors fans is not new noise, as they were maligned for similar behaviour during the 2019 NBA Finals when they cheered Kevin Durant’s ACL tear in Game 5.
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