Star centers Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns got into an old-fashioned brawl rarely seen in the NBA these days. Now the question is what kind of punishment they’ll face.
The on-court action between the Philadelphia 76ers and Minnesota Timberwolves took a backseat Wednesday night, as star centers Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns stole the show with an all-out brawl midway through the third quarter.
Embiid got tangled up with Towns after running over to double-team him and forcing a turnover. As the Sixers ran out in transition, the two bigs began shoving one another before Towns threw a right-handed haymaker at Embiid and then put him in a headlock.
Teammates and coaches quickly ran in to break up the fight, which ended with Sixers point guard Ben Simmons putting Towns into a chokehold on the ground. After a lengthy review, both Towns and Embiid were ejected from the game.
Now, both teams must await word from the league office regarding potential suspensions stemming from the fracas.
ESPN‘s Bobby Marks believes both Towns and Embiid could be suspended for multiple games:
But while speaking with reporters after the game, both Embiid and Sixers head coach Brett Brown expressed optimism that he’ll avoid a suspension:
Embiid also paid homage to his teammate, Mike Scott:
And the brawl further endeared Embiid to Sixers fans and vice versa:
The Sixers won the game handily, 117-95, to move to a perfect 4-0. It was Minnesota’s first loss of the season.
It’s difficult to imagine Towns and Embiid getting off scot-free from the league office. Neither team is in action again until Saturday, which should give the NBA plenty of time to review the situation before making a decision.
The Sixers are about to embark upon a four-game road trip against the Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets, so a multi-game Embiid suspension could be hugely problematic. The Timberwolves head to Washington for a game against the Wizards on Saturday before returning home to face the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday.