Joel Embiid’s most impressive move Thursday night came before his 76ers teammates took the floor to face the Nets without him in Game 3 of their playoff series at Barclays Center.
Embiid, who did not play because of a sore knee, told reporters that he “should have been ejected” for the way he elbowed the Nets’ Jarrett Allen in the face in Game 2. He also said he apologized to Allen for the foul and said he didn’t mean to make light of the situation when he laughed in a postgame news conference.
“I was trying to be genuine and I was actually sorry about what I did,” Embiid said. “I apologized to Jarrett during the game. I kept asking him if he was OK. That was not my intent. I don’t do that kind of stuff.
“Unfortunately, at the podium, my teammate [Ben Simmons] made me laugh and it kind of took a wrong turn. But I was apologizing. I wasn’t laughing because of how sorry I was, which I am. I’m extremely sorry. That’s not what I meant to do. I was just trying to be aggressive and make a basketball play.”
Embiid smacked Allen with a vicious elbow late in the first half of Monday’s game. He received only a flagrant 1 foul. After watching a replay of the hit, Embiid said he deserved a flagrant 2, which would have resulted in his ejection.
“I probably should have been ejected,” Embiid said. “I saw the play and it was a bad play. That is not the type of person I am.”
Some Nets were upset with the way Embiid laughed on the podium.
Said Caris LeVert after practice on Wednesday: “We didn’t really like that. We thought that was kind of disrespectful, especially after the elbow he threw. It is what it is. There’s no love lost. It’s a playoff series. We expect that.”