An Explanation on the Results of the Scuffle Between Sixers and Nets
Playoff basketball calls for an occasional chippy situation between players, and that's just what happened during the Philadelphia 76ers Game 4 matchup with the Brooklyn Nets. Throughout the series, guys were getting involved in small scuffles, which led to off-court smack talking between both teams. It all started during Game 2 in Philly when Joel Embiid accidentally threw an elbow to Nets' center, Jarrett Allen's face. Following the matchup, Embiid was caught on camera laughing while discussing the incident.
Although Embiid clarified that he wasn't laughing because he didn't seriously want to apologize, the Brooklyn locker room wasn't buying it - especially their veteran 'enforcer' Jared Dudley. The veteran forward didn't do much during Game 3, but he was more fired up than usual on Saturday as Game 4 tipped off in Brooklyn. Eventually, his anger towards Sixers' center Joel Embiid caught up with him as he went after Philly's big man after a questionable foul call went down.
After the game, Dudley addressed reporters in the Brooklyn locker room explaining that he though Embiid's foul was dirty and unnecessary. While Embiid did get called for a flagrant foul on the debateable block, Dudley's reaction wasn't warranted. Hence the reason why he ended up getting ejected, rather than just getting himself a technical foul.
Dudley wouldn't be the only player to find himself removed from the game though. 76ers' star forward Jimmy Butler also had to head to the locker room early since he retaliated to Dudley's retaliation on Embiid. NBA Referee Ed Malloy commented on the situation following the game by stating "Dudley and Butler were ejected for their roles as escalators, from taking a situation that was under control and escalating it to a heightened altercation."
Despite the mini-brawl though, many were confused about the decision to keep Embiid's foul as a flagrant one, even though Embiid clearly got all ball on the block. "There was a wind up with unnecessary contact that we didn't deem to be excessive." Even after a thorough review, the NBA officiating crew decided that Embiid's actions weren't necessary, which resulted in free shots for Brooklyn.
As far as the others involved in the small brawl, guys like Ben Simmons and D'Angelo Russell were spotted in the middle of the physical altercation as well. But the referees didn't see their involvement as a negative situation. According to Malloy, both, Simmons and Russell were reviewed for a potential foul as well, but they were seen as "peacemakers" in the situation, rather than "escalators."
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