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Joel Embiid and Kevin Durant have a heated exchange towards the end of Sixers-Nets game

Dec 30, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) exchanges words with Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) during the second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Tensions appear to have risen between two premier NBA superstars. Towards the end of the 76ers-Nets late matchup, Kevin Durant and Joel Embiid had some words for each other. The pair met face-to-face after Embiid all but ended the game with a late basket. Durant approached him at the free-throw line.

Both players received a technical foul for their confrontation but continued jawing at each other despite that. Their exchanges carried over once the game ended. When asked about it, Kevin Durant said that it was about the mutual respect between both players.

“If you’ve been watching Joel and I play against each other, it’s been like that every game. Even the All-Star game. We just respect each other so much, that natural competitive fire comes out. It’s the name of the game… We love competition, and this is only going to make it better […] he didn’t say nothing that crossed the line. We all respect each other out there.”

Kevin Durant

Durant added that he enjoys playing against someone like Embiid. He relishes the opportunity to bring the best out of an opponent, believing that it will ultimately make him better. The Nets and 76ers will meet only one more time this season, barring a matchup in the NBA playoffs. They’ll play at the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia on March 10th. Brooklyn currently leads the season series between the two Atlantic Division rivals two games to one.

Recap of 76ers/Nets

The stars shined the brightest in this matchup, as Joel Embiid led all scorers with 34 points on the night, including the game-sealing basket. On the other end, Kevin Durant and co-star James Harden led Brooklyn with 33 points each. Harden also added 14 rebounds and ten assists in his performance, notching his seventh triple-double of the season.

Philadelphia came away with a much-needed victory. This being their third straight win, the team appears to have gotten back on track. They now improve to 19-16 on the year, good for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Heading home and looking to keep their winning streak alive, they’ll play host to the Houston Rockets on Monday. Brooklyn, however, kicks off the new year by hosting the LA Clippers on Saturday.

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