Joel Embiid vows not to forget Whiteside's 'dirty' play; Heat center fires back

When the Miami Heat welcomed the Philadelphia 76ers to town Thursday night, it was a big game in terms of the battle for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference. But it was also a big game for the rivalry between Hassan Whiteside and Joel Embiid.

The two big men have been feuding for over a year now, ever since Whiteside got annoyed with Embiid's antics on Twitter in the lead up to last season's All-Star Game. Then, in this preseason, the two got into again after Embiid had words for Whiteside during their matchup, then continued the feud on Twitter after the game. 

Now, thanks to Thursday's game, the beef has picked up again. Whiteside thoroughly outplayed Embiid in this one, putting up 26 points, eight rebounds and two blocks in the Heat's 108-99 victory. But during the third quarter, the two got physical with one another.

Whiteside played some tough defense as Embiid drove to the basket, and the two continued to jostle as they ran down court. As they run, Embiid's elbow moves backwards and pushes Whiteside's arm right into his own face. The Heat center's head snapped back, and Embiid was whistled for the foul. After review, Whiteside was given a technical foul.

After the game, Embiid called out Whiteside for what he considered a "dirty" play -- Whiteside putting his arm into Embiid's back. The Sixers' big man also said "I won't forget about that." Via the Miami Herald:

Referring to a third-quarter incident in which they tussled slightly as they ran down the court, Embiid said: "He tried to hit me in the back, which is kind of dirty because of the fact that I've had back problems. We're going to see about that. I won't forget about that."

Embiid was charged with a foul – his fourth – which sent him to the bench for the final 9:11 of the quarter.

"That fourth foul, I don't remember touching him," Embiid said. "Even after the replay, I don't know what they were looking at.... I didn't think I touched [Whiteside]. But then they called a technical foul on him because obviously he's the one that made a dirty play... He hits really soft, so I didn't feel anything. But just the action of him trying to like do that I think is pretty messed up."

Later in the game, Whiteside dunked on Embiid, and swung up over him, a dunk Shaquille O'Neal said on "Inside the NBA" was "nuts."

On Friday, Whiteside fired back at the comments made by Embiid. He called him just "another dude" that happens to talk a lot. He doesn't seem interested in talking about it any longer and just wants to move past everything. 

"I got nothing to say ... another dude. He just talks more ... I'm not talking no more ... No more talk."

The Heat and Sixers are done with their regular-season matchups -- splitting the series 2-2 -- so unless they meet in the postseason, this feud could settle down for a while. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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