Brooklyn Nets veteran Jared Dudley and Philadelphia 76ers youngster Ben Simmons have been throwing jabs at each other — metaphorically speaking — in the media all week.
Those jabs manifested themselves on the court on Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn, making for a very entertaining Game 4 of the series that resulted in the 76ers grabbing a slight 112-108 win.
What happened in Game 4?
While the feud was built up in the first three games of the series, the pettiness continued in full force on Saturday afternoon.
After nailing a three, Dudley made the same gesture as Simmons when he missed the game before. Later in the game, the two were getting visibly more aggressive with each other.
Finally, it boiled over.
After Embiid fouled Nets forward Jared Allen from behind midway through the third quarter — similar to how he fouled Allen in Game 2 of the series — Dudley came sprinting from behind to shove Embiid. Suddenly, both teams wound up in a scuffle that fell into the stands.
When the whole thing was said and done, Dudley and 76ers guard Jimmy Butler were ejected from the game.
Butler finished with 11 points and four rebounds when he was ejected, and Dudley left with eight.
Embiid, though, seemed unbothered by the incident after the game.
“I mean, first of all, he’s a nobody,” Embiid said after the game. “When an opponent is trying to do something like that, that’s just to get us out of the game. I’m too valuable for my team. That’s why I didn’t react. I did not do anything.”
76ers escape with win
Though tempers flared earlier in the contest, the Nets mounted a seven point lead midway through the fourth quarter and seemed poised to even the series.
Yet a quick 8-0 run by Embiid brought Philadelphia back into control of the game. Then, thanks to a pair of critical 3-pointers from J.J. Redick and Mike Scott, the 76ers rolled to the four-point win at the Barclays Center.
Embiid led the 76ers with 31 points and 16 rebounds in the win. Tobais Harris added 24 points, and Simmons finished with 15. Caris LeVert led the Nets with 25 points, while both D’Angelo Russell and Jarrett Allen finished with 21 points each.
The Nets now trail the 76ers 3-1 in the series ahead of Game 5 on Tuesday night.
How did this random rivalry start?
In Game 1 of the Nets-76ers opening round playoff series, the 33-year-old Dudley held 22-year-old Simmons to just two points on 1-of-5 attempts. Dudley sat out Game 2 as he recovered from a calf strain, while Simmons posted a triple-double.
In a practice the day after the game, Dudley fired the first shot at Simmons: “Ben is a great player in transition,” he said. “And once you get him into half court, he’s average.”
He also said that Simmons is key to the Sixers’ offense, but that may have been too little, too late.
Of course, the All-Star Simmons was asked about Dudley’s comments, to which he flippantly responded, “That’s coming from Jared Dudley.”