Late in the second quarter of Game 3 on Saturday night, Joel Embiid received the ball from Seth Curry after Curry had initially rejected Embiid’s screen and drove baseline. Forced to make a long closeout, Daniel Gafford bit on Embiid’s pump fake like countless others before. The lane was clear for Embiid to tear down the rim, which he tried to do.

One problem: Embiid back-rimmed the dunk. Elevating in traffic is one of the few areas he does not excel at on the court, in part because of his frame. And as he was walking to the other end of the court to play defense, Embiid heard it from the crowd in Washington, D.C. This didn’t seem to bother him. Taking the role of a wrestling heel, Embiid acknowledged the boos and even started to egg them on.





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