The Brooklyn Nets’ forward Royce O’Neale was fouled by Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden late in the third quarter of Game 3 of their first-round playoff series on Thursday night. It was one of several contentious incidents involving the referees that night that led to Harden’s repeated complaints that it was “unacceptable.”
Harden slammed it as “unacceptable” in the locker room afterward. “Flagrant 2. unacceptable” I was kicked out for the first time. I don’t get called a nasty player, and I didn’t strike him in a personal space. It’s a typical basketball response when someone is defensively draped on you like that. I didn’t strike him hard enough for him to fall to the ground like that. But it’s inappropriate for a blatant 2. This contest is a playoff match. As we have seen around the league, the situation is considerably worse than what we saw on one play. Sincerely, I didn’t believe it was my fault. But it is intolerable. that is impossible for that to occur.
When asked whether he had received an explanation, Harden said that he had not. He then went on to explain why he didn’t think it was even an offensive play, much less one that merited a flagrant 2 and, thus, an expulsion.
Harden argued that he wasn’t guilty of a foul. “When someone is draped over me, your natural instinct is to use your off-arm to wriggle him free, and that was it. There was no windup, no elbow, and I didn’t strike him in the private region.
But the authorities disapproved. The referees felt it was “excessive and unnecessary” contact to the groyne, according to Monty McCutchen, senior vice president of referee development and training for the NBA, who spoke to TNT during the game.
Tony Brothers, the crew chief, reaffirmed that viewpoint in a pool report after the game.
Brothers said that the amount of excessive and expulsion was raised since the point of contact was immediately to the groyne.
Harden was playing his best basketball of the series up until his dismissal. When he was on the field, he was Philadelphia’s most reliable offensive player, finishing the game with 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists in 29 minutes. In particular, Harden was successful in his excursions to the rim, finishing 5-for-8 on 2-point tries after going a total 2-for-13 on them during the previous two games of the series.
Less than three minutes into the game, the decision on a play featuring the other superstar of the 76ers, Joel Embiid, amplified the Harden play decision. Nic Claxton, a centre for the Nets, fouled Embiid, who then fell to the ground. Claxton then stood over Embiid and glared at him.
In response, Embiid kicked up towards Claxton’s midriff, perhaps landing on the back of the leg.
Following a thorough review, Embiid was assessed a flagrant foul 1 and kept playing while Claxton was given a technical foul.
Later on, when Claxton was dismissed early in the fourth quarter for dunking over Embiid and then staring him down once more, Brothers gave him a second technical and ejected him as a result.
Brothers said that Embiid received only a flagrant 1 because the touch “was deemed unnecessary and based on the point of contact to the leg, it didn’t rise to the level of excessive.”
Jacque Vaughn, the head coach of the Nets, adamantly disagreed, claiming twice that Embiid kicked Claxton on purpose and that he had never seen a player continue playing after such an occurrence.
Vaughn said, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in my career before.” “I’ve never seen it before in a game when a person purposefully kicks someone in a place that none of us want to be kicked at or towards and then keeps playing. Intentional.”
When Embiid was asked to describe what took place during the scene with Claxton, he continually said that he couldn’t recall.
But when asked whether he recalled what occurred after Claxton was kicked out, he simply said, “Yes,” and then grinned.
Embiid, who ended with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 38 minutes, remarked, “You could see what they were doing the whole game.” “Just trying to provoke a reaction from me. I suddenly realised that I’m too important to be involved in this things, particularly after the first [play].That was the second time someone had struck me in the back, and that incident was not investigated. My back and knee keep hitting me, which is OK. For them, it is effective. But you know, you just have to keep going.
Not only because of the first flagrant foul review, it was an exciting night for Embiid.
After the first quarter was over, he walked to the locker room and stayed there until just before the start of the second. Almost immediately after re-entering the game, he clashed with Nets forward Cameron Johnson under the basket, seeming to twist his right ankle, which he subsequently grasped at while making a few trips up and down the floor.
However, Embiid continued to play and contributed to Philadelphia’s 11-point halftime advantage.
Then, after Brooklyn went on a 16-5 run to start the second half to level the game at 63, Embiid awkwardly fell while attempting to block a Johnson drive and once again hobbled back up the court. Yet again, he continued to play.
After the game, he had a large ice pack on his knee but said he was OK.
The problems between Embiid and Claxton date back to the regular season, when the two big players each got two technical fouls in Philadelphia’s victory against Brooklyn, Ben Simmons’ sole appearance in the stadium of his old club.
After the game, when asked what caused Claxton and Embiid to argue, Embiid said, “He said something he shouldn’t have.” That is why I asked him to tell it to my face again when I approached him. He knew the reason, which is why he turned his head and refrained from saying it again.
Then, after Philadelphia won Game 1 on Saturday, Vaughn requested more calls against Embiid in Game 2 at his postgame press conference.
Next game, hopefully, they’ll be calling travelling and defensive three seconds on the big man, Vaughn remarked. “I’m excited about that,” you say.
After helping Philadelphia win Game 2, Embiid reacted to Vaughn by bringing up Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse and his similar demands for calls during the 76ers-Raptors first-round playoff series from a year ago.
Tyrese Maxey scored 10 points in a row for Philadelphia in the final three minutes of the game, and Joel Embiid made a decisive block on a Spencer Dinwiddie drive that could have tied the game in the closing seconds. This was almost entirely overlooked amid the attention on the referees.
Coach of the 76ers Doc Rivers remarked, “I didn’t think any of us played well tonight.” “I believe we won the game. That is why it says “we.”That’s what I said to them after the game. There is no such thing as a team victory if that wasn’t one.