Nearly 500 points have been scored between the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers through two games of their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series, but shots are being fired away from the court as well.
During media availability Wednesday, Nets guard Caris LeVert told ESPN.com's Ian Begley that his squad "didn't really like" the way 76ers players Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons handled an apology following Game 2.
"We thought that was kind of disrespectful, especially after the elbow he threw," LeVert continued. "It is what it is. There's no love lost. It's a playoff series. We expect that."
Embiid was assessed a flagrant-1 foul in the second quarter of Monday's Game 2 when he elbowed Nets center Jarrett Allen in the face. When asked about it alongside Simmons following the game, Embiid apologized and said it wasn't intentional before the two burst into laughter.
Ben Golliver @BenGolliver
Sixers' Joel Embiid & Ben Simmons crack up laughing while Embiid was trying to apologize for flagrant elbow to Nets' Jarrett Allen during Game 2 win: "I got him pretty good but I'm sorry about it. it wasn't intentional. .... I'm not usually humble that's why he's laughing." https://t.co/Ll1wuTHEk3
The series is split 1-1 heading into Thursday night's Game 3 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
However, the Nets don't need any fuel added to their fire ahead of Game 3, as it's the franchise's first home playoff game since 2015.
"If you don't have that extra motivation going into it, then you're a step behind," LeVert added to Begley. "I don't think that's extra motivation. I think we already want to beat these guys bad enough as it is."
Even so, Begley also relayed commentary from Brooklyn's Jared Dudley, who seems to have added an extra chip on the shoulder:
"I felt a certain type of way for it just because you're laughing and someone could have really gotten hurt. Now, luckily, Jay did pop up. That's been Embiid's personality, but just because it's your personality doesn't mean it's right. So, for us, you can either get even however you want to do it, but the biggest thing for us to get even is winning Game 3."
The fact of the matter is the series, even at 1-1, isn't even. The Sixers finished the regular season at 51-31 compared to the Nets' 42-40. Philly is the third seed, and Brooklyn is the sixth. However, Brooklyn has been an underdog all season. Their projected win total in July, per CBS Sports, was 33.5.
The Nets weren't expected to make the postseason and, for the most part, aren't expected to surpass Philadelphia.
But Embiid's antics—not to mention his questionable health—could be Brooklyn's springboard.