A Nets-76ers series that has been testy from the start finally boiled over in Game 4, with yet another flagrant foul by Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid on Jarrett Allen sparking shoves and pushes by Jared Dudley and Jimmy Butler that spilled into the stands. Both Dudley and Butler were ejected.
“[Embiid] hit [Allen] on the head or neck area, he fell down. It’s something that’s been escalating for awhile,” Dudley said of the hit on his Nets teammate. “There was Game 2. That elbow should’ve been a Flagrant 2, they didn’t call a Flagrant 2. Then they’re in the press conference laughing. Then I see it like that. So I thought it was just a good push, let him know we’re not having it.
“For sure send a message. When you have a guy getting flagrant fouls, Joel Embiid’s second in the league in flagrant fouls. So for that elbow he had before to just have a Flagrant 1, no fine, no nothing, laughing in the media, if you think a team I play on is going to have that, that’s another thing coming.”
Embiid — who threw a Flagrant 1 elbow to Allen’s face in Game 2, then laughed in the postgame press conference after the Nets’ 112-108 loss — hit him again Saturday. Dudley rushed over and bumped Embiid, and Butler shoved Dudley in the back.
The situation escalated, with Ben Simmons restraining Dudley from going after Embiid and the pair eventually tumbling into the first row.
“I love that he did that,” Allen said. “I don’t think we needed to go to that extent, but I think that Jared Dudley wanted to show that we’re here, we’re here to stay, we’re not going to give up and we’re going to fight to the end.”
After the officials checked to see if Embiid’s foul constituted a hostile act, they eventually hit him with a Flagrant 1 and called technicals on Dudley and Butler, ejecting both.
“Dudley and Butler were ejected for their role as escalators, from taking the situation that was under control and escalating it to a heightened situation,” crew chief Ed Malloy said.
“I got pushed, which is fine. We get up, we both go our separate ways. It should’ve been a double-tech, or you want to do a flagrant on both,” Dudley said. “For them to eject not only Jimmy, but myself is ridiculous. No punches were thrown, no one acted or said anything crazy.”
Dudley was commended by his teammates.
“We’ve seen hard plays, we’ve seen hard fouls go against Jarrett Allen the last few games. They just happened to be from the same player,” D’Angelo Russell said. “So for Jared Dudley to step up and react like that, I thought it was necessary because we’re getting the bottom end of that in the results of it.
“So for one of our players to be on the ground after every hard play like that, that’s not what it’s going to be. So if those guys aren’t seeing it from our perspective, we see it from that perspective so we’re going to handle it our own way.”
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