When is someone going to tell Minnesota to stay away from the Art Museum? This is really just a tradition like no other at this point. Minneapolis does realize that Rocky lost, right? Well tonight there were no moral victories to be found in Philadelphia.
Landed in Philly and made a surprise stop… ??? pic.twitter.com/8w6CUKnrCJ— Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) October 29, 2019
You could argue that this was the last stop the team managed to get all day. The Sixers took it to the Timberwolves early, often, and in brutal fashion en route to a 112-92 display of sheer dominance.
After the game, Embiid took to Instagram to double down on the brawl.
“I ain’t no b****,” said Joel Embiid, paying homage to his teammate Mike Scott. Scott was the first to greet Embiid as he walked to the bench following a brawl with Karl Anthony Towns. The fight took place midway through the third quarter in a game the Sixers were physically dominating. Towns and Embiid had been battling most of the game down low with Embiid pushing Towns off his spots consistently on both ends.
Towns and Embiid have been friendly in the past, appearing on the red carpet together at the 2017 ESPY awards.
However, Embiid, who has said he would dial back his trash talk this season, has called out Town’s lack of defense. In an Instagram feud, Embiid and Towns got into a bit of a back and forth that ended with Embiid saying, “Better quality than your defense.”
Former Sixer Robert Covington weighed in on the scuffle. “They had been going after each other all game. It was bound to happen.” RoCo went on to mention he used the incident as motivation. “I’ve known Joel Embiid for years, and I know that he likes to instigate – and the crowd got behind him.”
The Sixers’ physical style of play, whether it’s within the flow of the game or a little extracurricular, will not be going unnoticed by opposing players and coaches. Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders addressed the difficulty of playing against the Sixers’ bully ball style during his postgame interview.
Minnesota Timberwolves Head Coach Ryan Saunders “They were physical. They’re a big physical team. They have a number of guys who have changed the way they play and it did hurt us tonight.”— J Blevins (@JBlevinsNBA) October 31, 2019
Expect to see quotes like this quite often this seasons. #bullies
Defense Rules The Day
All battling and brawls aside, the Sixers have found an identity.
“There is a fight that we have as a team that, at times, trumps it all.” – Brett Brown
That fight manifested early as the Sixers controlled the boards and forced turnovers while getting deep into the paint seemingly at will. If not for some turnovers on drives, the Sixers would have had an extremely efficient night.
Still, the rebound differential tells the whole story. The Sixers dominated the glass 52-29. This Sixers team seems likely to end the season as the NBA’s top rebounding team.
Speaking after the game, Brett Brown downplayed the likelihood of a suspension for Embiid. “I’m not worried. I don’t see punches being thrown; I don’t believe he was the instigator.” But he said that the team is looking to institute an identity. “Philly Hard, Philly Edge, Philly Real” is a mantra that Brown is constantly looking for opportunities to instill in this team.
“It’s Philly man, it’s Philly tough,” said Mike Scott after the game in the locker room when talking about Embiid’s fight.
"you gotta have those soldiers with you, at war… Ben was out there, in the field and I loved every second of it." Mike Scott on the mentality of the Sixers team after the Joel Embiid and KAT altercation. https://t.co/TsGwL9NaS2— J Blevins (@JBlevinsNBA) October 31, 2019
As a result of tonight’s win, the Sixers and San Antonio Spurs remain the only unbeaten teams in the NBA.