PHILADELPHIA — Milwaukee Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe was ejected less than three minutes into Thursday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers after an aggressive game of catch with Sixers center Joel Embiid.
At the 2:36 mark of the first quarter, Embiid and Bledsoe got tangled up, and Embiid extricated himself from it with a little shove at Bledsoe. Taking offense to that, Bledsoe retaliated with a shove of his own into Embiid’s back.
Embiid responded by casually tossing the ball at Bledsoe, who at this point was about 10 or 15 feet away. Bledsoe responded by whipping the ball right at Embiid’s chest, hitting him square in the middle of it and bouncing away before he had a chance to react. The ball wound up landing next to Sixers forward Mike Scott, who proceeded to then throw it right at Embiid as players from both teams quickly converged around each other.
After a brief review, the officials gave their assessment: one technical foul each for Embiid and Scott, and two — and, with it, an automatic ejection — for Bledsoe.
As the partisan crowd cheered wildly at the news and Bledsoe walked off the court and back to Milwaukee’s locker room, Embiid — who was at the other end of the court, with his right hand above his head — waved to Bledsoe as he walked away with his left.
Milwaukee entered Thursday night’s game needing one win to clinch home-court advantage throughout the NBA playoffs, while Philadelphia’s magic number to clinch the third seed in the East currently stands at two. A win Thursday, however, would mean Philadelphia can’t finish lower than fourth.