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New York Knicks call Joel Embiid’s play dirty in Game 3 loss to Philadelphia 76ers

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The New York Knicks were not happy with Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid.

Not just because Embiid, who revealed after the game that he is playing with Bell’s palsy, scored a game-high 50 points and lifted the Sixers to a 125-114 victory in Game 3 on Thursday night.

The Knicks expressed disgust at some of Embiid’s antics, including a flagrant foul 1 he committed on New York center Mitchell Robinson, a play that Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo called dirty. New York guard Josh Hart called it reckless.

Robinson went up for a shot attempt at the rim, and Embiid grabbed Robinson’s leg as he tried to score.

Referees reviewed the play, and in a pool report after the game, crew chief Zach Zarba said, “In that situation, the crew gets together, we go and review the foul. In this instance, the crew was unanimous along with the replay center official in Secaucus that this foul was unnecessary but did not rise to the level of a flagrant 2.

“The unnecessary contact rose to the level of a flagrant 1 but we were unanimous that this did not rise to the level of excessive contact, unnecessary and excessive, which would have been a flagrant 2 ejection. That’s why we kept it a flagrant 1.”

A flagrant foul 2 results in an automatic ejection. The league office likely will conduct a review of the play to see if it should be upgraded to a flagrant foul 2. They could look at suspending Embiid for a game too.

Asked about the flagrant foul, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said, “Which one? The one they called or, the one they didn’t call. Just want to make sure we have clarity on that.”

Also in the first half, Embiid kicked out his leg on a jump shot and hit Robinson in the groin region, and Embiid was hit with a foul for what appeared to be a knee to the groin area of Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein.

The Knicks lead the series 2-1, and Game 4 is Sunday in Philadelphia.

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