It took fifteen minutes for the 76ers’ wild side to emerge in their first game at the Orlando bubble complex.
As Philadelphia players bumped into the Pacers for 12 minutes after the opening, Joel Embiid and Shake Milton seemed to be arguing. It seemed that Embiid uttered a magical word or phrase to take out Milton – the conversation went from civil to almost physical in about a second. Rookie Matisse Thybulle prevented Milton from running on Embiid.
Undoubtedly talented, the 76ers have struggled over the past two seasons with Embiid’s unpredictable behavior, Ben Simmons’ stubbornness and the occasional antagonism of their own fans. Some teams can thrive despite the existence of an ongoing dysfunction, but Philadelphia has yet to prove that it has that kind of hardness.
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Milton entered Philadelphia starting line-up on Saturday, but was plagued with dirty problems from the start. Before the coronavirus pandemic, he had emerged as an unexpected source of backcourt production and numbers to advance big minutes.
The 76ers followed the Pacers at six when Embiid and Milton argued.