Joel Embiid Says Altercation with Shake Milton on 76ers' Sideline Was 'Nothing'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2020

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid plays during an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid downplayed what appeared to be a tense exchange with teammate Shake Milton at the end of the first quarter in Saturday's 127-121 loss to the Indiana Pacers

"It's basketball," Embiid said, per Sixers Wire's Ky Carlin. "Everybody makes mistakes, it happens. We have to come in and get better. We discussed what's going on and we move on and find a solution. It's nothing."

The Sixers players were walking toward the sideline when Milton and Embiid began talking. Milton looked to take exception to something Embiid said, and Matisse Thybulle intervened before the situation could escalate.

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Joel Embiid and Shake Milton exchanging words during the timeout 👀 (via @NBCSPhilly) https://t.co/sTDo6MIisV

A natural shooting guard, Milton instead operated as Philadelphia's starting point guard. He struggled in the role, finishing with zero points, three assists and three turnovers. Meanwhile, Pacers point guards Aaron Holiday and T.J. McConnell combined for 25 points.

Sixers head coach Brett Brown echoed Embiid's sentiments and thought the brief argument could be beneficial, per Carlin:

"You don't go cheerleading stuff like that all the time, but if a conversation needs to be had, it's going to be had. I actually think stuff like that is probably more healthy than anything. Shake's teammates love Shake Milton. They're proud of his evolution and then you got an NBA All-Star in Joel Embiid who has an idea and I don't know the full detail, but for the most part, it's healthy. Those two will move on quickly."

Purely in terms of talent, Philadelphia has the pieces to reach the NBA Finals. Getting all of that talent to work as a cohesive unit has proved troublesome, though.

Embiid had 41 points and 21 rebounds against the Pacers, while Tobias Harris chipped in with 30 points. Their contributions still weren't enough in large part because the team had no answer for T.J. Warren, who poured in 53 points.

Most concerning, the Sixers slipped to 10-25 away from Wells Fargo Center. By comparison, they were 29-2 at home prior to the suspension of the season.

Embiid might be feeling a sense of urgency. Philadelphia has seven more seeding games before the playoffs begin, and the team looks no closer to solving the general inconsistency that has been a theme throughout the year.