Around the NBA, including Joel Embiid fight night

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Every Wednesday, we take you beyond the Toronto Raptors to look at the rest of the NBA. This week we checkout the bottom of the playoffs in the East, a loaded Western Conference, and Joel Embiid’s fight night.

The Toronto Raptors are 4-2 and currently fifth in the Eastern Conference. But what’s been happening around the rest of the NBA? We take a look in our weekly NBA update.

Bottom of the Eastern Conference playoffs

It’s early. It’s early. It’s early. But what exactly is going on at the bottom of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference? The current six seed is….. the 4-3 Charlotte Hornets. The Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers hold the seventh and eighth spots; neither team is above .500.

The overall takeaway isn’t that Charlotte or even Atlanta will make the playoffs, but rather the bottom of the East looks angel food-cake soft. The Orlando Magic, Brooklyn Nets, and Detroit Pistons are all underperforming expectations — the Pistons have a somewhat valid excuse with a harsh case of the injury bug–, and under .500 might be enough to earn the seven or eight seed.

The West is absolutely loaded

Thank goodness the Toronto Raptors are in the Eastern Conference. The West only* has four more wins than the East at the moment, but just a look across the NBA spectrum shows how much easier the teams of the junior varsity conference have it.

While the 4-3 Hornets sit at the six-seed of the Eastern Conference. The 4-3 San Antonio Spurs are on the outside of the playoffs in the West. The conference’s former bottom-feeder, the Phoenix Suns, appears to be a legitimate team (behind MVP Aron Baynes). Other than the Steph-less Golden State Warriors, every team in the conference is at a minimum frisky.

This seems like something that should be cyclical, but once again, the West is loaded.

Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns go at it

There’s something oddly beautiful about watching two seven-footers go at each other. Lumbering giants who have clearly never been in a real fight their entire life, towering over those attempting to break things up.

Both players have been suspended two games, while Ben Simmons was declared a peacemaker as he wasn’t able to complete his rear-naked choke (that wasn’t a tap-out people). The suspensions seem about right. Ibaka was suspended for three games after an altercation with Marquese Chriss last year. However, very few players have more “repeat offender” status than Ibaka.

Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns have had beef before, and this is just another example of the two not liking each other. The two teams play again on March 24th.

Next: OG Anunoby has taken the next step

Check-in at Raptors Rapture every Wednesday for our weekly NBA update.