Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid called Brooklyn Nets player Jared Dudley 'a nobody' after both teams got into a heated scuffle during Saturday's Game 4 of the NBA playoffs, which the Sixers won 112-108.
The two had been going back and forth all week, with Dudley calling Embiid's teammate, Ben Simmons, an "average" player earlier in the series.
When asked about criticism towards him, Simmons responded by saying, "It's coming from Jared Dudley, come on."
It escalated on Saturday when Embiid fouled Nets center, Jarrett Allen, fairly hard, causing Dudley to come to Allen's defense by shoving Embiid and getting in his face. Jimmy Butler, Embiid's teammate, reacted by shoving Dudley and a scrum ensued.
Dudley and Butler were ejected for taking part in the brawl, while Embiid received a flagrant 1. If he didn't put his hands up, he could have been ejected as well.
When asked about Dudley after the game, Embiid didn't hold back.
“First of all, he’s a nobody. And, you know, when opponents try to do stuff like that, that’s just to get us out of the game," he told TNT after the game. "I’m too valuable for my team. That’s why I didn’t react. I did not do anything, and I didn’t think that was a flagrant foul because I played the ball too. But in that type of situation, I just gotta stay composed and be mature and let it go because my teammates, they need me more than they need him so, you know, I just gotta be mature.”
During their press conference after the game, both Embiid and Butler continued to talk in good spirits about the incident, seeing as they won the game.
"First of all, we knew it was coming," Embiid said of Dudley getting in his face.
"Yeah, we definitely thought it was coming. I don't be paying attention to him too much. I just don't think you should run up on anybody like that." Butler explained.
The Sixers stormed back after the ejections, outscoring the Nets 51-41 and taking a 3-1 lead in the series. They have a chance to close out the Nets on April 23 in Philadelphia.