Joel Embiid escapes ejection in a wild win, keen to move on

2023-04-21T11:08:13+00:00 2023-04-21T11:13:38+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

21/Apr/23 11:08
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 20: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers dribbles against Dorian Finney-Smith #28 of the Brooklyn Nets during the first half of Game Three of the Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs at Barclays Center on April 20, 2023 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Busy evening for the referees in charge of Game 3 between the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets

By Johnny Askounis/

Questionable reactions and complicated decisions for the referees all over the place in Barclays Center Thursday evening.

The Philadelphia 76ers overpowering the Brooklyn Nets shaped a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. But the Nets seemed to have a case for Joel Embiid to be ejected early in the first quarter.

Falling on the court, the Cameroonian center clearly intended to kick Nic Claxton in the groin area. However, he was given a Flagrant Foul 1. “The contact was deemed unnecessary and based on the point of contact to the leg, it didn’t rise to the level of excessive,” commented crew chief Tony Brothers after Game 3.

In an odd turn, Claxton was actually ejected for taunting after dunking on Embiid in the fourth quarter.

“You could see what the game plan was. Got to hit him, try to make me frustrated so I could get ejected,” mentioned Embiid, “So, I’m too mature to put myself in a position where I’m going to be ejected, so I just went about my business and we got the win.”

“I don’t remember,” he added instead of actually further commenting on the incident, “We’re up 3-0, we move on, it takes me a lot to process a game after that type of fight. So I got to go watch the tape, see what we can do better, what I can do better, and I’m just happy we got the win.”

Head coach Jacque Vaughn and fans constantly booing the referees would like Game 3 to continue without Embiid on the court.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in my career before. For a guy to intentionally kick someone in an area that none of us want to be kicked at or toward, and for him to continue to play,” reacted Vaughn with his side forced to face elimination in the next edition of NBA Saturdays.

In a similar recent NBA Playoffs situation, Draymond Green was tossed and eventually suspended for one game after stepping on Lithuanian Domantas Sabonis in Game 2 of the best-of-seven series between the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings.

Joel Embiid made it through, but James Harden did not

Besides the Embiid situation, James Harden was later ejected with a Flagrant Foul 2 on Royce O’Neale at the end of the third quarter. “Based on the point of contact directly to the groin, it rose to the level of excessive and ejection,” explained Brothers.

“First time I’ve been ejected, I’m not labeled as a dirty player, I didn’t hit him in a private area,” stressed Harden repeatedly calling the decision against him unacceptable, “Somebody’s draped on you like that defensively, it’s just a natural basketball reaction. I didn’t hit him hard enough for him to fall down like that.”

Taking over, Tyrese Maxey recorded a team-high 25 points, including a tiebreaking three-pointer with 44 seconds on the clock. Delivering a clutch block, Embiid later confirmed the win and 3-0 lead.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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