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May 10, 2019

NBA won’t rescind Joel Embiid’s Game 6 flagrant foul, putting him on brink of suspension

Embiid and Marc Gasol got tangled up vying for a rebound, and Embiid's hand made contact with Gasol's face

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041619-JoelEmbiid-USAToday Bill Streicher/USA Today

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) rest on the scorers table during the second quarter in game two of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Brooklyn Nets at Wells Fargo Center.

The NBA has reportedly decided to not rescind Joel Embiid’s flagrant foul from the fourth quarter of the Sixers’ Game 6 win over the Raptors.

ESPN’s Tim Bontemps first reported the news Friday afternoon:

If you missed the flagrant foul when it happened, here’s a look at what Embiid did to get the whistle:

As Bontemps notes in his tweet above, the decision not to rescind the foul is crucial because Embiid now has three “points” from flagrant fouls in the playoffs. Accruing four “points” translates to an automatic one-game suspension, which would happen if Embiid is called for another flagrant-1 foul at any time between Game 7 of this series and the end of the playoffs.


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If the Sixers advance to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Bucks, that would put Embiid at least slightly on his heels in a series where physicality will be a necessity against MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo.

PhillyVoice’s Kyle Neubeck spoke with Sixers head coach Brett Brown after Thursday’s game about the foul call, and Brown was not pleased with the call:

Embiid was asked about the call after the game, and he also took umbrage with the ruling:

In this writer's opinion, the foul — which occurred late in the fourth quarter while the Sixers owned a 21-point lead — is almost the textbook definition of incidental contact. Embiid’s hand briefly grazes Gasol’s face while the two lock elbows and fight for position in an attempt to secure a rebound.


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In a sport featuring such intimate playing quarters, and especially in the postseason, this decision reads like a flagrant misunderstanding of the game.

The Sixers face the Raptors in Game 7, in Toronto, on Sunday evening.


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