Utah rookie guard Donovan Mitchell is 6-3, 215 pounds.
Sixers future All-Star center Joel Embiid is 7-0, 260.
So even at his angriest, Mitchell should not be able to take down Embiid with even his most forceful shove.
So how was it that Embiid was pushed down to the Wells Fargo Center floor after Mitchell got angry after his shot got blocked by Embiid?
“I flopped,” Embiid confessed. “It was all in good fun.”
Mitchell said the Sixers big man was chirping all game, which is pretty standard for Embiid. On this particular sequence Monday night, Mitchell drove to the basket for a layup. Embiid met him there and swatted the shot away, then turned and mocked Mitchell.
Mitchell shoved Embiid from behind as they made their way up court. Embiid toppled like a redwood in a forest and Mitchell was given a technical foul.
— Armchair NBA (@ArmchairNBA) November 21, 2017
“I was flat the whole game, just going through the motions,” said Embiid, who nearly did not play because of left knee soreness and tightness. After the shove, he sat on the floor and waved for the crowd to make noise. The 20,000-plus obliged.
“I just have to keep my head,” said Mitchell, who shot 6 for 19 for the Jazz. “He was talking the whole game, which is part of the game. It’s a learning experience. I just have to keep my head, especially in that situation when we were making a comeback.”
Utah was down 13 at the time and really wasn’t making a comeback. But the Sixers did gain some momentum from the frenzied crowd and ended the game on a 15-7 run to win 107-86.
Mitchell said he didn’t hear if Embiid said anything, but he obviously didn’t appreciate that Embiid snuffed his shot and barked about it. Embiid said he and Mitchell shook hands after the game.
“It was all me,” Mitchell said. “In that moment, I shouldn’t have done anything. I should have kept playing and let it go.”