Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty

Here’s a date to circle on your NBA calendar (you’ve got an NBA calendar, right? Hanging up in your bedroom? Next to the John Wall Fathead and above your candlelit John Wall shrine? Of course you do): February 2. It’s a long way off, but it is the first regular season meeting between Joel Embiid’s 76ers and Hassan Whiteside’s Miami Heat. This one got a lot more interesting after yesterday’s preseason matchup. Neither guy played all that well, but the real fireworks came later, on Twitter:

Embiid has taken to shouting “they can’t guard me” or “he can’t guard me” to get himself pumped up in games. This caught the attention of, uhh, Michael, who managed to draw a response from Hassan Whiteside. The response did not go unnoticed by young Joel Embiid!

It’s pretty amazing that Embiid was compiling advanced stats for this Twitter beef! Whiteside had a real rough time guarding Embiid—he picked up four fouls in 11 minutes of action, and finished minus-9 on the night—but Embiid really did finish the game 1-of-7 from the floor.

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It’s this next tweet that really makes the exchange. I have no idea whether it’s sincere, but I love it either way. Joel Embiid is good at social media, even if or when he’s bad at it:

You may remember, Whiteside seemed to take a shot at Embiid’s social media behavior during last season’s All Star voting, drawing a sarcastic All Star vote from none other than Embiid himself. I think these guys genuinely dislike one another! Assuming Embiid’s body holds up over more than three full months of NBA basketball, I really will be excited to watch these two go at it in February. In fact, the Sixers should hold Embiid out until then. He’d miss, what, 48 games? How many damn games is he really gonna play, anyway? I mean let’s not kid ourselves.

Exactly.