Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn
Sources: Nets and GM Sean Marks were livid over belief Embiid’s flagrant 1 fouls in Games 2/4 should’ve been deemed a 2. More than message to league with ref challenge, Marks intended to message his team on how franchise is determined to support way they're competing in series.
Things got chippy midway through the third quarter, when Joel Embiid aggressively blocked a Jarrett Allen shot attempt. While the play looked innocuous enough, Jared Dudley took exception and ran from the three-point line to shove Embiid.
Jimmy Butler quickly returned the favor, shoving Dudley, and a mini-scrum broke out that spilled into the stands.
When the dust settled, Embiid was hit with a flagrant and both Dudley and Butler were ejected. And the war of words that has carried throughout the series continued after the game.
Dudley said he instigated the scrum in response to Embiid's elbow on Jarrett Allen in Game 2 that was also called a flagrant foul. On Monday, Embiid and Ben Simmons laughed in the press conference while Embiid was apologizing, though the Sixers big man apologized a second time later and said he wasn't laughing about the elbow and felt bad for clocking Allen.
But Dudley felt a statement needed to be made (h/t Anthony Puccio of Nets Daily):
"It's just something that's been escalating for a while. Game 2 the elbow... they're in the press conference laughing. And then I see it like that, I thought it was a good push and that we're not having it today. For sure I was sending a message, when a guy is getting flagrant fouls, I mean Joel Embiid is second in the league in flagrant fouls, so for that elbow to just have a flagrant 1, no fine, laughing in the media. If you think a team I play on is gonna have that, that's another thing you have coming."
With both Dudley and Butler being ejected, it appeared the Nets had the upper hand in Game 4, losing the far less valuable player. But Embiid was dominant in the second half, and the Sixers squeaked out a 112-108 victory, taking a 3-1 lead in the series.
And frustrations continue to mount in Brooklyn, from the locker room to the front office.