PHILADELPHIA -- Whenever the Philadelphia 76ers and Oklahoma City Thunder have met over the past 2½ seasons, two things have remained constants: The games have been highly entertaining, and Russell Westbrook and Joel Embiid have ensured the entertainment has lasted long past the final buzzer sounding.
Saturday saw both of those trends continue.
Not only did the Thunder emerge with a heart-stopping 117-115 victory in front of a sellout crowd at Wells Fargo Center, but Westbrook and Embiid found yet another way for their personal rivalry to continue, thanks to Westbrook taking exception to a foul by Embiid with 1:46 remaining in the fourth quarter.
"I don't think he just landed on me," said Westbrook, who 21 had points, 10 rebounds and six assists before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. "He had a little extra to it. But it's OK."
Then, when a reporter followed up by asking if he and Embiid were "cool," Westbrook responded, "F--- no!" When asked to elaborate, Westbrook only said, "Go home, bro."
The play that set Westbrook off came when he caught a pass ahead on a fast break and appeared to have a chance to make a layup to put Oklahoma City up by four. Instead, he briefly fumbled the ball, allowing Embiid -- who was sprinting downcourt to try to contest Westbrook's shot -- a chance to catch up. That resulted in Embiid jumping to block a shot Westbrook didn't take -- sending the 7-foot, 260-pound center flying into Westbrook, and subsequently sending both of them flying to the ground.
Initially, Westbrook stayed there, and appeared to be in some pain. But then, after his teammates came over to check on him, he leapt to his feet and attempted to sprint through them all to get at Embiid -- who, for his part, looked confused as to what set off Westbrook. After partially calming down, Westbrook began pointing at Embiid as he walked all the way to the opposite end of the court -- earning himself a delay of game in the process -- before eventually knocking down both free throws to push Oklahoma City's lead to 108-104 after all.
"I think I was going for the ball, and I think he lost the ball, but I was already in the air," said Embiid, who had 31 points, eight rebounds and six assists despite playing through back tightness, when asked to explain what happened from his vantage point.
"I don't know why he was mad. I have no idea ... but he's always in his feelings."
When told Westbrook thought he pushed him, Embiid said, "I don't have to explain myself. But I was in the air, and I went for the block. I almost fell on him, and even went to the other side [of him]. So I have no idea what he's talking about."
Westbrook later fouled Embiid on a 3-pointer with 14.9 seconds left -- with Philadelphia trailing by three -- to foul out of the game. Both Westbrook and Thunder coach Billy Donovan admitted Westbrook made contact with Embiid on the play, but both thought it should have been considered a "rip-through" move, and thus only worth two shots, rather than the potentially game-tying three.
The officials disagreed, though, and Embiid knocked down all three to set up what turned into a wild sequence to end the game. First, after making all three, the Sixers trapped Dennis Schroder -- who was handling the ball in Westbrook's absence after he fouled out -- in the backcourt, and his pass out of it was intercepted by Jimmy Butler for an uncontested layup that put Philadelphia ahead 115-113 with 6.9 seconds remaining.
But just as quickly as the Sixers earned the lead, they gave it right back, as Butler fouled George on a made 3-pointer with 5.1 seconds left, giving Oklahoma City a four-point play that cemented the Thunder's stunning victory.
When the teams played here last season, Embiid and Westbrook exchanged words at the end of Oklahoma City's triple-overtime victory. When Thunder center Steven Adams fouled out, Embiid waved him off the floor. Then, when the game ended, Westbrook waved at Embiid, and both had things to say to reporters afterward.
"He told me to go home, man," Embiid said. "I mean, this is my home, so I guess it's on him to go home. They won the game. I give them a lot of credit -- they did a lot of things.
"But I mean, the dude shot like 10-of-33. I wish I would've shot 33 times. I guess we would've had a better chance of actually winning the game. But he told me to go home, man. This is my home. I ain't going nowhere."
"I told him to go home," Westbrook said. "He was talking mess to Steve-O -- [who] fouled out -- waving to the crowd, which is unnecessary. Waving to Steve-O bye. You know, now it's time for him to go home."
Then, when the two teams met again in Oklahoma City a month later, Westbrook stared down both Embiid and Simmons as they watched from the sidelines while he dribbled out the clock in what was yet another Oklahoma City victory.
And two years ago here in what was both the season opener for both teams and the first game Embiid ever played, a fan sitting courtside was ejected after giving Westbrook the finger with both hands midway through the first quarter.
For all of the attention paid to his personal history with Westbrook, though, the thing that frustrated Embiid the most was that the Thunder have stretched their winning streak over the Sixers to 19 games, having lost to them just once since moving to Oklahoma City from Seattle -- and that time coming in 2008, the first year the Thunder played there.
"Pissed we lost that game," Embiid said. "We had it.
"The Sixers haven't won against them in what -- 10, 11 years? That's just ridiculous. I wanted to get that win. That's one more reason that pisses me off that we gave that away ... we had it."
ESPN's Royce Young contributed to this report.