NBA playoffs: Joel Embiid leads 76ers past Knicks in Game 3, avoids ejection after pulling down Mitchell Robinson

by Admin
NBA playoffs: Joel Embiid avoids ejection after pulling down Knicks' Mitchell Robinson by his ankle

Joel Embiid powered the Philadelphia 76ers to a much-needed win on Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

He just barely escaped an early ejection after pulling Mitchell Robinson down to the court by his ankle, too.

Embiid dropped 50 points, which is a postseason career-high, while leading the 76ers to a 125-114 win over the New York Knicks in Game 3 of their opening-round playoff series on Thursday. That cut the Knicks’ lead in the series to a single game after they won both contests at Madison Square Garden.

The incident in question happened in the first quarter. With New York leading 18-15, Knicks forward OG Anunoby knocked Embiid to the floor while attacking the basket. He then passed the ball to Robinson, who was standing over Embiid under the basket.

As Robinson jumped for a dunk, Embiid grabbed his right ankle and pulled him to the court. Robinson lost control of the ball, and officials whistled Embiid for a foul.

Tempers flared, and Embiid and Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo got in each others’ faces and exchanged words. Players were separated, and officials then called for a replay review, the third of a fiery first quarter.

After review, officials ruled the contact unnecessary and upgraded the call to a flagrant 1. He avoided a flagrant 2, which would have resulted in his automatic ejection from the game.

Per the NBA, a flagrant is defined as “necessary contact committed by a player against an opponent.”

A flagrant 2 is defined as “unnecessary and excessive contact committed by a player against an opponent.”

Embiid’s contact that dragged Robinson to the court from midair can certainly be construed as “unnecessary and excessive,” but officials elected not to eject Philadelphia’s All-NBA center.

Robinson avoided injury on the play and took the line for the flagrant free throws. A 40.9% free throw shooter, he missed both, and New York didn’t score on its ensuing possession.

Though the game was tight for much of the first half, the 76ers took off in the third quarter. Embiid had 18 of his 50 points in the period quarter, which sent the 76ers into the fourth quarter with a 13-point lead. He shot 7-of-8 from the field and hit four 3-pointers during that stretch, completely taking over the game. From there, Philadelphia simply rode its double-digit lead the rest of the way and held on to grab the 11-point win.

Jalen Brunson led the Knicks with 39 points and 13 assists in the loss while shooting 13-of-27 from the field. Josh Hart finished with 20 points, and O.G. Anunoby added 17 points.

Embiid had eight rebounds and four assists to go with his 50 points in the win for Philadelphia. Tyrese Maxey added 25 points and seven assists, and Kelly Oubre finished with 15 points and seven rebounds.

Game 4 of the series is set for Sunday afternoon.

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