Two of the NBA’s top teams collided on Wednesday night, as the Lakers and Sixers squared off in Philadelphia, with the Sixers sneaking away with a 107-106 win after nearly blowing a 14-point lead in the second half. It took a Tobias Harris jumper with 2.4 seconds remaining to salvage what was shaping up to be an ugly fourth-quarter collapse.
Harris had 24 points and seven rebounds on the night, but it was Joel Embiid who led the way for Philly as he continued his streak of dominant play, finishing with 28 points, six rebounds, four assists, and a pair of blocks. But the big man also had a scary moment in the second half as he went up for a layup and came down hard on his hip.
Upon review, it appeared LeBron shoved Embiid while he was in the air and was subsequently hit with a Flagrant 1.
Joel Embiid was visibly in pain and went down hard on his back after being fouled.
LeBron was called for a flagrant 1 and Embiid stayed in the game. pic.twitter.com/LSOVsgVy5f
— ESPN (@espn) January 28, 2021
Any situation where a player gets hit in the air like this is taken seriously by the officials and is sometimes grounds for Flagrant 2 and automatic ejection. This, of course, is at the discretion of the officiating crew, and in this instance, they ruled it a Flagrant 1 and allowed LeBron to remain in the game.
Afterwards, Embiid sounded off on the play, claiming that LeBron received preferential treatment in this instance and that, if the roles were reversed, he believes he would’ve been hit with a Flagrant 2 and ejected.
Embiid on the LeBron flagrant: “You look at it, that’s a very dangerous play, and I guarantee if it was me I would have probably been ejected from the game.”
— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) January 28, 2021
There’s obviously a lot of gray area in these incidences, and the wording in the rule book certainly leaves things open to interpretation as to what constitutes “unnecessary and excessive” contact. Regardless, Embiid obviously didn’t appreciate what was inarguably a dangerous foul on LeBron’s part and something he’ll surely be feeling in the morning.