Eric Bledsoe said that in a hypothetical seven-game series between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Philadelphia 76ers, he believed the college squad would emerge as the winner.
“I’m definitely taking Kentucky,” Bledsoe told Brian Geltzeiler and Malik Rose Wednesday morning on SiriusXM Radio when asked who would in a 7-game series. “I think Philly would get probably, maybe one game. I know they’re (Sixers fans) gonna be mad, but I love my Wildcats.“
Bledsoe is a Kentucky alum, of course, so it was likely he was just messing around, and he said as much before Friday’s contest against those very same Sixers.
“I have a lot of respect for NBA players,” Bledsoe said after the Suns’ morning shootaround at the Wells Fargo Center Friday. “I was joking around. Obviously I went to Kentucky and then they played good.”
It appears as though the Sixers weren’t laughing.
On Phoenix’s very first offensive possession, Bledsoe drove into the lane, and was fouled hard enough by Nerlens Noel that the referees whistled Noel for a flagrant. Bledsoe bounced up and went after Noel, making it clear he didn’t appreciate the shot to the face.
Afterward, Bledsoe said the hit was intentional.
From Alex Kraft of CSN Philly:
“They were telling me before if I came into the paint they were going to do something dirty,” Bledsoe said. “I did it on purpose.” …
“You can tell if you look at the tape,” he said. “Like I said, they did it on purpose.”
Noel said he was simply playing defense and he and his fellow Kentucky product are good friends.
“I just tried to protect the rim and I gave him a pat on the butt,” Noel said. “[Bledsoe] is my good friend. We rehabbed together down in Birmingham, Alabama so it was nothing personal.”
The additional swing with the left hand from Noel is the part that appeared to be unnecessary. But whether it was or it wasn’t, that was the only incident like this that took place.
Phoenix won 122-96, sending the Sixers to their 12th consecutive loss to start the season.