The Philadelphia 76ers have a 3-0 lead over the Nets in the first round of the NBA Eastern Conference playoff series. But much of the conversation following the Sixers’ 102-97 victory in Game 3 has revolved around star Joel Embiid.
Following a dunk from Brooklyn Nets center Nic Claxton early in the first quarter, Embiid fell to the court. As Claxton stepped over him, Embiid attacked with a retaliatory kick.
After a video review, the referees determined that Embiid committed a flagrant foul 1. A flagrant foul 2 would have resulted in an ejection.
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Later in the game, Philadelphia guard James Harden was ejected from the game after he swung his arm while dribbling and made contact with Nets forward Royce O’Neale’s groin.
Officials reviewed the play and called Harden for a flagrant foul 2.
«Based on the point of direct contact with the groin, it was raised to the level of overshoot and ejection,» crew chief Tony Brothers said.
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Some believe Embiid should have suffered the same fate as teammate Harden in Game 3. Hall of Famers Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley are among those who feel Embiid’s actions warranted an ejection.
During Thursday’s broadcast of TNT’s «Inside the NBA,» O’Neal and Barkley compared Embiid’s kick to Golden State Warrior star Draymond Green’s stomp on the chest of Sacramento Kings’ Domantas Sabonis earlier in the game. of week. Green was ejected from the game against the Kings and was also forced to serve a one-game suspension.
«I thought [Embiid] should have been kicked out. I thought he was a Flagrant 2. I think his was worse than Draymond’s,” Barkley said on the show.
«…I thought he tried to kick [Claxton] in their private parts. He should have been kicked out.»
«Thank you,» O’Neal added.
Despite being down with around two minutes to go, the Sixers won and took a commanding 3–0 series lead. Embiid delivered a pivotal block on Spencer Dinwiddie’s layup attempt in the final seconds of the game.
The NBA has not announced any further punishment for Embiid as a result of the kick.
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Game 4 between the 76ers and the Nets is scheduled to begin Saturday at 1 p.m. ET.