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April 20, 2018

Joel Embiid unloads trash talk on Miami Heat in epic Game 3 postgame Q&A

Sixers NBA
042018-JoelEmbiid-USAToday Jasen Vinlove/USA Today

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid reacts after making a three point basket during the second half against the Miami Heat in game three of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena.

Joel Embiid is back with a vengence. The franchise center returned to action on Thursday night and led the Sixers to a massive 128-108 victory over the Heat in Game 3, silencing all doubt about whether his return would upend a Sixers team playing its best basketball of the season over the last couple months.

He was in the mood to crow about it, too. Rather than being diplomatic during his postgame availability, knowing his team has to beat the Heat two more times to advance to the next round, Embiid let the trash talk fly in what will probably go down as his best postgame availability session of the season.

For those of you who missed it, here is a condensed version of what he told reporters on the scene in Miami, with the more standard parts of the conversation removed to get straight to the point.

Note: These questions did not take place in this direct order, and were supplemented by questions to Embiid about playing with the mask, his path back to the court, and other topics more directly related to normal basketball activities. Clips from the sequences that inspired the questions have been included where possible.

What happened the two times you had to change the mask?

JOEL EMBIID: It was just about I think Justise [Winslow] stepped on it, and tried to break it with his hands. Little did they know I have about 50 of them, so it's going to take much more than that to get me out of the series. I'm going to be a nightmare for them too.

You got that revenge block on [Winslow] in the game, can you talk about the energy you were feeling right there?

EMBIID: It felt great. When he blocked me I didn't really see him... good for him. But on the other end, I'm glad I got him back and kind of shut him up a little bit, because he was talking big time when he did block me, and you don't really want to talk trash to me. So I'm glad I got him back.

Jo, a couple days ago you put one Instagram post, where you had you guys playing against this team, the Heat, then it was playing against Boston, the Cavs, then there was one against the Warriors. Was that a prediction or something, was that like the path? What was that about?

EMBIID: [Smiles] I don't know, it was just the only pictures I had in my phone, so I just had to go with that.

You put the game away with a scoring run in the fourth quarter.

EMBIID: Justin was kind of hyping me up on the bench, he was talking about [how] I'm one of the best players in the league and that I gotta take over, and that I gotta bring back the win. I like that. I felt like it was time to go to work, I was lucky the shots were falling, the threes, and on the defensive end I think I got a block too.

I thought it was some tough shots, especially the one that I banked, and I could see in [Miami's] faces, that when you kind of make that type of shot, the guys on the other end they just go like [face of helplessness], and that's good. When you see that in your faces, that's good, because you got to come right back at them, because they're like, guys hate that. That's what we did, and my teammates did a great job of finding me.

Game 2 ended with Goran [Dragic] shooting a layup late in the game, and then Dario [Saric] went for a layup late in tonight's game. Is there anything to that?

EMBIID: I wish I was there in that Game 2, because I was pissed about it. It happened earlier in the year, and Dario got a lot out of it, Cleveland they were all mad. I wish I was in that game to also act like that, because it kind of pissed me off and I was on the sideline, like really mad.

I told them, when we had a chance [in Game 3], I was like, 'go do the same thing,' and I saw Ben was pushing and we were trying to score. We don't care. I feel like I saw Goran didn't get a lot of shit about it, but I was actually surprised because Dario did when it happened to him.

So, I mean, it's basketball. It's always good to blow a team out. I think we were up 18 or 20, and if you could get that lead up to 22, I think it's good. I love blowing teams out. I liked the fact that we did that, we're not here to make friends, we're here to win a series.


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