Neither Joel Embiid nor Karl-Anthony Towns will miss all that much time in the aftermath of their scuffle earlier this week. The NBA decided that the pair of big men, who got into it and subsequently were ejected from Philadelphia’s 117-95 win over Minnesota on Wednesday night, would miss two games each, meaning both will be back on the floor mid-next week.
Considering the tussle and all the jawing that occurred on social media in the hours after the game ended, a two-game suspension might have seemed a bit light. According to a story published by Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, the Timberwolves believe that’s exactly what happened with Embiid. The team’s president of basketball operations, Gersson Rosas, released a statement expressing disappointment in the league and support for Towns after the punishments were handed out.
“While we are disappointed in the league’s decision, we understand the magnitude of this unfortunate incident,” Rosas said. “The NBA is highly competitive and last night was a reflection of that. We support Karl and will move forward together as a group.”
The disappointment, Krawczynski reports, stems from a few places. The obvious one is that the Timberwolves weren’t particularly happy that Embiid got as many games as Towns and not a more harsh penalty, believing that the Sixers’ standout instigated the fight, escalated things as he left the floor, and poured gas on the metaphorical fire on social media after.
There were multiple factors at play that led to the Timberwolves’ unhappiness. First, team officials believed Embiid instigated the tussle in the third quarter by baiting Towns after collapsing to double-team him and force a turnover.
Second, they felt Embiid’s antics before leaving the court, which included shadow-boxing and whipping the home crowd into a frenzy, were over the top compared to Towns’ quiet exit. The Timberwolves also believed Embiid’s escalation of the incident with a stinging and vulgar series of messages lobbed at Towns on social media set him apart from Towns on the scale of guilt.
But Embiid’s punishment wasn’t the only thing that miffed the Wolves. Krawczynski went onto say Minnesota wasn’t pleased with the lack of a suspension or fine for Ben Simmons. After the initial pushing and shoving between the two big men, Simmons came in and wrapped up Towns. The three went to ground, and Simmons opted to lay on Towns and wrap his arm around his neck, a move that the NBA determined was him looking to deescalate the situation.
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) October 31, 2019
Simmons has not commented on his role in the whole ordeal. Both Embiid and Towns are slated to return to action on Nov. 6, when the Sixers travel to Utah to play the Jazz and the Wolves take on the Grizzlies in Memphis.