Neither Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid nor guard James Harden will be reprimanded further by the NBA after both were called for flagrant fouls Thursday night, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Embiid was issued a flagrant 1 but wasn’t ejected after he kicked Brooklyn Nets center Nic Claxton in the first quarter, while Harden was ejected for a flagrant 2 foul after he hit Nets forward Royce O’Neale in the groin. Claxton was also later ejected for taunting.
The 76ers battled back to take a 3-0 series lead after the 102-97 win over the Nets.
NBA referee Tony Brothers told reporters after the game that Embiid wasn’t ejected because his actions “didn’t rise to the level of excessive” while Harden’s was because of “the point of contact directly to the groin. Here are the two fouls:
Embiid kicks Claxton after he stares him down and steps over him 😳pic.twitter.com/ZWlu0CBsYH
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) April 20, 2023
James Harden ejected for this “excessive and unnecessary” flagrant 2 foul 😦pic.twitter.com/TCYEV4p9ST
— Ball Don’t Lie (@Balldontlie) April 21, 2023
Harden later called his ejection “unacceptable” because he said he “didn’t him in a private area.”
“I’m not labeled as a dirty player,” Harden said. “… Somebody is draped on you like that defensively, that’s a natural basketball reaction. I didn’t hit him hard enough for him to fall down like that. But for a flagrant 2, it’s unacceptable. This is a playoff game. We’ve seen around the league, things are much worse than what that play was. Honestly, I didn’t think it was a foul on me. But that’s unacceptable. It can’t happen.”
The decision to not take any further action against either comes days after the league suspended Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green for one game after he stomped Sacramento Kings forward Domantas Sabonis in Game 2 of the Western Conference playoff series.
Green was immediately ejected for his actions — where he also yelled at officials — while Sabonis was issued a technical foul for his foul in the kerfuffle after he held Green’s leg following a missed shot. The league later explained Green deserved a suspension because of his “history of unsportsmanlike acts.”