The Philadelphia 76ers notched quite possibly the biggest win of a very good season on Wednesday, but the team had to hold its breath after one play in particular.
Sixers MVP candidate Joel Embiid fell down hard in the third quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers. The big man jumped in the paint and was going up for a dunk when LeBron James shoved him in the midsection, causing him to land with much of his weight on his tailbone.
Embiid remained on the floor for a few moments and could be seen walking gingerly, but managed to stay in the game. For his shove, James was assessed a flagrant 1 foul, which he could later be seen arguing about with officials.
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
Embiid has been dealing with back issues this season, most recently missing Monday’s game due to back tightness.
The Sixers eventually held on and won 107-106 thanks to a Tobias Harris winner. Embiid posted 28 points on 8-of-18 shooting with six rebounds and four assists in 37 minutes.
After the game, Embiid didn’t seem very amused by James’ shove, saying he would have been ejected from the game if he made the same play:
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
In case you need a refresher, here are the NBA’s definitions for flagrant fouls, the latter of which carries an automatic ejection:
Flagrant Foul Penalty 1: Unnecessary contact committed by a player against an opponent
Flagrant Foul Penalty 2: Unnecessary and excessive contact committed by a player against an opponent
The officials apparently deemed James’ shove unnecessary, but not excessive in guarding the paint. Embiid appears to think differently.
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