This was very nearly a fight! Which, by NBA standards, counts as World War 3. Karl-Anthony Towns vs. Joel Embiid is as high level a dust up as you’ll see in the NBA. Neither of them hit a speedy backpedal like Nuggets Melo, they were literally inside each other’s shirts. So after watching the tape from multiple angles, here is my comprehensive breakdown of this brawl.
Started incredibly strong. Really showed off how much work he put in during the offseason to strengthen both his core and lower body – two areas of weakness that Bigs have taken advantage of in the past. If anything this all feels like a ploy on his behalf to show the rest of the League that he has fully mature physically. And while the start of this donnybrook went in his favor… things went downhill QUICKLY. After his eyes were gouged and he was brought to the ground, Ben Simmons decided to put him in a rear naked chokehold and forced a tap. Which I truly do hate to see.
For a guy who openly boasts about killing lions he didn’t have much of anything for Towns. He threw more punches once the fight was broken up than during it. He was taken to the ground by Jeff Teague. But, BUT, he doesn’t appear seriously injured which is a massive win for him.
We all lost because Mike Scott was on the bench for this. No question this fight escalates by 100-fold had he been able to get in the mix. I’m sure he’ll mop up some Eagles fans on his way to his car postgame.
Great teammate for having Jojo’s back. He was the first one to jump in this scrum and take it from a fair one to a jumping. Philly will love him forever for that display of moxie. He got Towns to tap on his chokehold, whether or not that chokehold was wildly cheap or fair game is the viewer’s call. I’m of the belief that in a brawl you can’t just lay on your tummy and hope everyone else is done scrapping. I would like to point out that Simmons didn’t even think about using his left hand once in this melee, mostly because he’s a righty. If you choke a man out with your right you probably shoot with your right.
The head and shoulders clear victor in all this. I have no idea how he was able to bring down Embiid by himself, but his open form tackle is the best stoppage to take play in Philly this year. The Eagles are currently drawing up a three year contract to bolster their secondary.