NBA suspensions from 76ers/Timberwolves scuffle, per sources: Joel Embiid, 2 games; Karl-Anthony Towns, 2 games. No fine for Ben Simmons.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 31, 2019
The NBA league office has issued its ruling on the wrestling match that took place between Joel Embiid and Karl Anthony-Towns during the Sixers’ decisive win against the Minnesota Timberwolves last night. Both superstar centers will miss their next two contests. For Embiid and his teammates, that means he’ll be out for the upcoming road battles in Portland and then Phoenix.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium who broke the news from the league, Ben Simmons has avoided any fine for his role in the melee:
All parties viewed Simmons as a peacemaker in scuffle. Simmons was seen on top of Towns, calming him down with with his arms. https://t.co/0LNuQewES8— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 31, 2019
Last night folks on twitter quickly formed a different conclusion and didn’t seem as convinced as “all parties” that Simmons was simply soothing Towns with his arms. What do you think?
Did Ben Simmons really put KAT in a chokehold? pic.twitter.com/kS5JvT63CY— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 31, 2019
A social media war of words ensued following the contest early into this morning.
All in all, it seems like great news for Philadelphia. It wouldn’t have been shocking had the league tried to set precedent against this type of altercation, or the profanity laced language used on social media after it was over. Two games for Joel isn’t ideal. But as well as the Suns have player recently, that is not a game Philadelphia cannot win without him. As for Portland, it’s always a tough place to play but their front-court is pretty banged up with injuries to Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins. That one is doable as well.
Beyond the suspension, that a one-way offensive star like Towns on a bad team could get under Embiid’s skin is at least a bit troubling. With championship aspirations the team should be focused primarily on their goals for this regular season and the ways their final record may impact their playoff-seeding and home court. In short, championship teams don’t tend to get into fights with bad teams during blowouts. If Embiid wants to be seen as the “adult in the room” by his head coach and the team’s unquestioned leader, he should exercise better judgment in the future.
Al Horford says he hopes both Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns learn from tonight’s fight.— Noah Levick (@NoahLevick) October 31, 2019
He says both are “good kids,” but “there’s just no place for that.”
Head Coach Brett Brown may want to have a little chat with his superstar player and remind Embiid how important his presence in the lineup is. Both this weekend and beyond. Beating Phoenix and Portland would not have been layups. But they would have been a lot easier with their leader and best player. And who knows, maybe they could have stolen another game or two in the standings over Milwaukee.