The 76ers defeated the Brooklyn Nets 137-133 on Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Center in Ben Simmons' return to Philadelphia to face Joel Embiid for the first time since being traded, and head coach Doc Rivers believes his team got too caught up in all the drama.
"There's a difference between intensity, playing with emotion and being too emotional," Rivers said after the game. "And I thought honestly our side of it, we were on the wrong side of that a lot tonight. ... We have to be better as far as handling our emotions in games like that."
When asked about if Embiid got too caught up in the one-on-one matchup with Simmons, Rivers responded: "I just thought we got caught up in all the crap going on tonight. It's a lot of little chippy-ness and that's good, but play above it. Stay above it. Keep playing."
A total of seven technical fouls were handed out Wednesday night—three to Brooklyn and four to Philadelphia. Embiid (two), James Harden and Montrezl Harrell received technicals for the Sixers, while Simmons, Nic Claxton and head coach Jacque Vaughn received them for the Nets.
Embiid and Claxton received matching technicals in the first quarter after getting into a verbal altercation following a foul by Philadelphia's Shake Milton.
Harden also received his technical foul in the first quarter after bouncing the ball into the base of the hoop.
Additionally, Vaughn received a technical foul after Simmons was called for a foul on Embiid in the first quarter. The head coach made it clear that he didn't agree with the decision, talking to the referees during a timeout.
Simmons received his technical foul in the fourth quarter after pushing Georges Niang.
It's no surprise things were quite chippy between the Nets and Sixers, especially given the history between Simmons, Embiid and the Philadelphia fanbase following his departure from the franchise last season.
Both teams will meet again on Feb. 11 in Brooklyn, and that matchup will surely be as intense as Wednesday's game, especially if Kevin Durant returns from his MCL sprain by then.