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#pounditMonday, March 4, 2024

NBA makes decision on Game 4 availability for James Harden, Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid kicking Nic Claxton

James Harden and Joel Embiid both committed flagrant fouls during Game 3 of the Philadelphia 76ers’ series against the Brooklyn Nets, but neither player will face further disciplinary action from the NBA.

An NBA spokesperson told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Friday that neither Embiid nor Harden will be fined or suspended. The league will take no further action, meaning both Sixers stars can play in Game 4 on Saturday.

Embiid received a flagrant-1 foul for kicking Nic Claxton early on in Game 3 after the Nets big man stepped over him (video here). Claxton was assessed a technical foul for taunting. Charles Barkley and others felt that Embiid was trying to kick Claxton in the groin and should have been ejected.

Harden was ejected later in the game after he was assessed an extremely questionable flagrant-2 foul. He was being defended by Royce O’Neale late in the third quarter with his Sixers down 80-76. Harden leaned into O’Neale with his left shoulder while preparing to make a move and simultaneously put his left hand towards O’Neale’s groin (video here). There didn’t appear to be any intent, but officials felt the play warranted an ejection.

If the NBA agreed that Harden intentionally threw a cheap shot to O’Neale’s groin, Harden probably would have been suspended or, at the very least, fined. In any event, the league made the right call not handing out any suspensions.

The 76ers won Game 3 to take a 3-0 series lead over the Nets. They will try to finish the job on Saturday in Brooklyn.

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