Unwritten rules in sports can be tricky. 

While each sport has their own, the one universal rule for all of them revolves around having a big lead and not running up the score.

With a career-high 49 points, Joel Embiid had a chance at 50 with the ball in his hands with less than 24 seconds left and the Sixers holding a 17-point lead. As he passed half court, Embiid didn’t appear to have any intentions of shooting, but the Hawks’ Kevin Huerter was wary of the All-Star center going for 50.

After Huerter stole the ball off him, Embiid had a NSFW gesture in return. He explained his actions postgame:

There's always this thing about you shouldn't shoot the ball if you're up 20 or something like that. And I feel like it should go both ways. I'm running the clock down and I feel like the game is over. That's why I'm doing it. But to me, if the other team is gonna keep playing defense, and they're gonna keep shooting the ball at the other end, I feel like we should just be like, 'Well, be better next time,' and just go out and score. 

After Cam Reddish missed a three, Embiid got the ball again. He wound up dribbling it past half court to run the clock out despite the crowd urging him to go for 50.

Was he tempted instead to hoist another shot?

I thought about it when I had the ball again, but I was like, I'm gonna stay cool. But I feel like it should go both ways. If the team up by 21 is running the clock off, I feel like the other team should also respect it. We just moved on, but it is what it is and we got the win. That's all I care about.


There's been a lot of talk about Embiid not having fun and trying to be mature. It was a mature decision for him not to shoot, but it sure looked like he was having fun.

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