Joel Embiid and Terry Rozier get technical fouls after skirmish

ByIan Begley ESPN logo
Tuesday, May 8, 2018

PHILADELPHIA -- The Celtics-76ers series got a little testy in Game 4, starting with an on-court skirmish between Joel Embiid and Terry Rozier.

Rozier, who is 6-foot-2, and Embiid, who's 7 feet tall, had to be separated by other players on the court in the second-quarter encounter. Both players received technical fouls in the Sixers' 103-92 win.

"He kinda kept the ball away from me and tried to punch me twice -- but too bad he's so short that he couldn't get to my face," Embiid said of Rozier.

The players got into it when Embiid tried to take the ball from Rozier after Rozier was whistled for an offensive foul. Rozier took exception at the time. He brushed it off afterward but made it clear that he wasn't intimidated by Embiid, who outweighs Rozier by 60 pounds.

"To set the record straight, I wake up every morning not worried about nobody, no man on this earth," he said. "We were out there having fun. It's just part of a basketball game. That's all it is."

Tensions seemed to be high throughout the game. Late in the third quarter, Boston head coach Brad Stevens and wing Jaylen Brown also received technical fouls for arguing with officials.

Later in the quarter, Marcus Morris and Embiid engaged in a bit of trash talk as Morris held up three fingers and then held up his fist to remind the Sixers All-Star that Boston held a 3-0 series lead.

The Sixers won Monday's match, but no team in NBA history has rebounded from a 3-0 series deficit (0-129 entering this postseason). Game 5 is set for Wednesday in Boston.

Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said he'd likely keep guard T.J. McConnell in the starting lineup for Game 5. McConnell started in place of Robert Covington in Game 4 and scored a career-high 19 points to go along with seven rebounds and five assists.

Philadelphia outscored Boston by 18 in McConnell's 39 minutes as he helped limit Rozier to 11 points.

"He is not the biggest, not the most athletic, but he has the energy he brings every night and he's a huge part of this team," Ben Simmons said after a 19-point, 13-rebound outing. "I think tonight was a night he really stepped up and gave us that energy."

Simmons said after the game that he texted Embiid (15 points, 13 rebounds) earlier Monday about winning Game 4 to extend the series.

"I'm not ready to go home and start my vacation, definitely not," he said. "[Embiid and I] spoke about it, and we want to be here and we believe our time is now and it's going to take a lot, but that's just the way our mindset is."

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