During last night’s Game 6 matchup between the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers, Joel Embiid inadvertently smacked Marc Gasol in the face while the two jostled for positioning after a free throw:
Flagrant 1 on Joel Embiid for slapping Marc Gasol on the box out pic.twitter.com/40egU0AqUh— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) May 10, 2019
If you ask me, that was very clearly an accident. However, even with the benefit of replay, the officials decided the incident was worthy of a flagrant one foul.
For a refresher, even though its repeated during the broadcast just about every single time a play is under review, here’s what the NBA officially classifies as a flagrant one foul: unnecessary contact committed by a player against an opponent.
Now, such a definition leaves a bit of discretion to the refs. There’s “unnecessary” contact on just about every single basketball play, if we’re nitpicking. So in regards to a flagrant, unnecessary seems to mean outside the realm of results that occur from typical basketball actions. And if my understanding is accurate, I’m not sure Embiid’s foul on Gasol is unnecessary whatsoever. It seems as though Embiid is simply raising his arms in preparation of fielding a rebound, and accidentally caught Gasol in the face. A standard foul? Sure. But a flagrant?
The NBA today had a chance to change course and rescind Embiid’s flagrant. Surely they would, right? Nope. According to Tim Bontemps of ESPN, the NBA will not be performing any such action:
Joel Embiid's flagrant foul from last night's game will not be rescinded, league sources told ESPN. Embiid now has 3 flagrant foul points during the playoffs. He will earn an automatic 1-game suspension if he picks up a flagrant-1, & a 2-game suspension if he gets a flagrant 2.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) May 10, 2019
This creates a very precarious situation for Joel and the Sixers. They absolutely cannot afford to lose Joel Embiid for an entire game. With the threat of a suspension lingering, Embiid will have to keep his cool and play under control for the remainder of the Sixers’ playoff run. But even that feels like it may not be enough to keep the heat off Jo...