Draymond Green

Joel Embiid roasted the Warriors even after tough loss

Joel Embiid roasted the Warriors even after tough loss

Every time Joel Embiid takes the basketball court — or pulls his phone out of his pocket — he has the ability to surprise us with a new move.

Jojo went toe-to-toe with the NBA's best Golden State Warriors on Saturday night, particularly chatting it up with Draymond Green, and held his own in a tough loss in front of a packed house of Philadelphia Sixers fans.

Embiid is clearly in opposing teams' heads at this early stage of his career. Prior to the game Saturday, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said what Joel did in L.A. last week was "terrifying." Then, following the Golden State win, Kevin Durant said they didn't want to lose to the Sixers because then they'd have to hear about it from Embiid on Twitter afterward.

“We wanted to win this game really, really bad. After being down by so much. And we didn’t want to lose to these guys, especially [Embiid]," Durant said.

“He woulda gone straight to Twitter and start talkin’ shit.”

Welp. The Sixers lost and Embiid found a way to roast the Warriors anyway. That's a new one!

The man is creative. A classic throwback burn to the legendary 3-1 collapse to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Lovely.

There's something about the way Embiid talks trash that other teams appreciate. Following the game on Saturday night, Draymond said he respects Embiid's trash talk game because he doesn't just talk when the Sixers are winning, he talks smack the entire game no matter what.

That's dedication to his craft.

Joel Embiid shares summer trash talk with Draymond Green

Joel Embiid shares summer trash talk with Draymond Green

SAN FRANCISCO — Joel Embiid got a jump-start on trash talking against the Warriors months before their Nov. 11 matchup. 

Embiid was at a dinner this past summer with Draymond Green. Embiid got the banter underway when he shared his expectations with one of the league’s most outspoken players. 

“I told him that I was going to kick his a--,” Embiid said Friday after practice. “I can’t wait to play against him. I love the way he talks trash. I feel like I’m kind of like the same, so it’s going to be a fun battle.” 

Green took Embiid’s comments in stride. They ended up exchanging phone numbers. 

“He was just laughing,” Embiid said. “Then he was like, ‘Yeah, right.’ Friendly trash talk.”

Embiid will play against the Warriors for the first time in his career on Saturday. He is looking forward to competing against Green, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. 

Embiid also has heard about the energy level of the Warriors’ fans inside Oracle Arena and can’t wait to play in that environment. Even if the crowd drowns out the noise on the court, there will be plenty of chatter going on. 

“I love doing that,” Embiid said. “Doesn’t matter if you’re my friend or not. I’m always going to talk trash.” 

The Sixers could use a strong game from Embiid against the 9-3 Warriors. Even though he’s putting up standout numbers (20.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, 1.6 blocks per game), Embiid has shot a combined 14 for 35 from the field and committed a total of 11 turnovers in his last two games. He did not play Tuesday against the Jazz.

Any time Embiid shows signs of struggles, eyebrows are raised about his health. Brett Brown acknowledged Embiid experiences “a little bit” of soreness after playing but isn’t worried. Embiid played 32 minutes on Thursday against the Kings. 

“I think some of that is just to be expected from a man of 7-foot-2, 280 pounds,” Brown said. “It’s just part of the wear and tear of playing 30-something minutes. You feel that there is soreness. With him, because there have been other injuries, those are exacerbated a little bit. But not to the point where we’re alarmists or anything’s overly concerning. It’s just the whole recovery and maintenance of Joel.”

The big man, who underwent left knee surgery in March, said there’s nothing to fret about. 

“I feel great,” Embiid said. “I’m good. Just got to get in shape.”

Embiid is working on his conditioning. He is trying to drop a couple pounds to 280, his weight during the Sixers’ 10-5 month of January. His goal would be 275 pounds. 

“My legs wouldn’t feel as heavy as they feel, especially at the end of games,” Embiid said of weight-loss objectives. “I’d get more lift. I’d just be more athletic. This year, I feel like I haven’t been the same defensively, although the numbers say that I’m better than I was last year. … I think I’ll be fine. I’m not worried about it. I’m only playing about 27 minutes and it’s all going to come together.”

A good place for that to happen would be in Oakland. 

Best of NBA: Green, Beal ejected in Warriors' comeback win over Wizards

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Best of NBA: Green, Beal ejected in Warriors' comeback win over Wizards

OAKLAND, Calif. — Kevin Durant had 31 points, 11 rebounds and six assists to help rally the Golden State Warriors from 18 points down and beat the Washington Wizards 120-117 on Friday night, a game marred by a fight between Golden State's Draymond Green and Washington's Bradley Beal shortly before halftime that led to both being ejected.

Stephen Curry added 20 points and eight assists, hitting two 3s and two free throws in the final minute of the third quarter to get Golden State within 97-87 heading into the final 12 minutes. Then Klay Thompson and Durant made 3s early in the fourth for a four-point game. Thompson scored 18 points.

Durant's jumper with 1:20 to go put Golden State up by five, but the defending champions still needed his two free throws with 9.4 seconds left. John Wall missed an off-balance 3 then Washington couldn't capitalize on one final chance.

David West made two straight baskets for the Warriors midway through the fourth but Otto Porter Jr. hit consecutive 3-pointers for the Wizards, answering a 3 by Durant with a baseline dagger on the way to 29 points for the Wizards.

With 19.5 seconds left in the second quarter, Beal held the front of Green's jersey with his left hand while grabbing Green around the jaw with his right. That enraged Green, who threw his right arm in frustration and wrapped arms with Beal as if hugging, then other players joined the scrum (see full recap).

Towns has 33 and 19 as Timberwolves hold off Thunder
MINNEAPOLIS — When Jimmy Butler was sidelined for two games with an upper respiratory infection, the Minnesota Timberwolves lacked energy and struggled on defense. The end result was a pair of losses by an average of 22 points.

In Butler's return Friday night against Oklahoma City, it was evident just how different a team Minnesota is with him on the court.

Butler scored 13 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter and helped the Timberwolves hold on for a 119-116 win over the Thunder. His veteran leadership was felt on both ends of the floor for Minnesota, which improved to 3-2.

"He makes a big difference," Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Just having his presence - he's a great leader, does the right things on the floor."

Karl-Anthony Towns had 33 points and 19 rebounds to lead Minnesota. Towns also had arguably his best defensive game of the young season, posting a season-high four blocks (see full recap).

Harden's triple-double lifts Rockets past Hornets 
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Houston Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni seemed genuinely disappointed his team only attempted 55 3-pointers against the Charlotte Hornets.

"I don't know why we didn't shoot 60," D'Antoni quipped. "We passed up about four."

James Harden had his first triple-double of the season with 27 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, and the Rockets finished 22 of 57 from beyond the 3-point arc in a 109-93 win Friday night.

Houston nearly broke its own NBA regular season records of 24 3-pointers and 61 3-pointers attempted set last December.

Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson led the 3-point barrage. Gordon was 6 of 16 from beyond the arc and had 26 points, while Anderson was 6 of 15 and finished with 21 points (see full recap). 

Efficient Fournier scores 25 as Magic beat Spurs
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) The season is a little more than a week old, but the Orlando Magic continue to shock the NBA.

The Magic buried the San Antonio Spurs 114-87 behind 25 points from Evan Fournier to run their record to an Eastern Conference-best 4-1.

Orlando led by as many as 36 points in a near-perfect performance at both ends of the floor. One week ago, the Magic led the Cleveland Cavaliers by as many as 37 in a 114-93 victory.

Jonathon Simmons  scored 17 points, Aaron Gordon had 16 and Nikola Vucevic scored 15 for the Magic, who closed this one out early. They led by 27 at halftime and pushed the lead to 36 when Fournier conveted a four-point play with just over three minutes left in the third period (see full recap).