Basketball fans had their hearts in their mouths for a moment on Sunday when Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid came within millimetres of accidentally hitting an opponent with what would have been a devastating punch.
After losing the ball out of bounds on a drive against the Chicago Bulls, a frustrated Embiid let it show as he turned and pumped his first around in anger.
Bulls guard Lonzo Ball was walking across the lane as Embiid turned around - narrowly avoid what could have been a devastating, if accidental, punch to the face.
Fortunately it was only a near miss - albeit one which cost Embiid a technical foul.
Despite his protests, the NBA will hit players with a technical foul for pumping their fists the way Embiid did - presumably to ensure a potential accident doesn't occur.
— The Crossover (@TheCrossover) November 7, 2021
Ball was a good sport about the situation, sharing a laugh with Embiid while the technical free throw was taken.
Had Embiid or Ball been in just a slightly different position, however, the contest would have ended very, very differently.
Embiid finished the night with a team-high 30 points and 15 rebounds while shooting 11-of-19 from the field.
The win gave Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers his 1,000th career win, making him just the 10th coach in NBA history to hit that mark.
Ball finished the night with eight points, five rebounds and five assists.
Fans were gobsmacked by. just how close Embiid came to doing what could have been serious damage to Ball.
Zach LaVine talked to Joel Embiid after his (near) punch of Lonzo Ball.
"I'm cool" with Embiid, LaVine says, adding everyone understood Embiid didn't mean to do it.
— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) November 7, 2021
Joel Embiid is charged with a technical foul.
After the official ruling, he and Lonzo Ball embrace because clearly there was no ill-intent from Embiid.
Zach LaVine missed the tech free throw. https://t.co/dRn1lX79gm
— Dave Uram (@MrUram) November 7, 2021
Embiid gets a technical foul and Lonzo Ball lives to see another day -- yikes.
— Pat Gallen (@PatGallenCBS3) November 7, 2021
Embiid clearly with a frustration air punch. No intention there other than to show frustration with himself.
But ya gotta stop blindly air punching. If Lonzo were an inch taller he'd be out cold right now.
— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) November 7, 2021
I recognize Joel Embiid was frustrated at himself, but he is fortunate that his arm swinging didn't inadvertently land on Lonzo Ball.
And Lonzo Ball is lucky/fortunate that he appeared to duck/get out of the way.
— Dave Uram (@MrUram) November 7, 2021
Philadelphia 76ers resume fining Ben Simmons over reporting concerns
The Philadelphia 76ers have reportedly resumed docking All-Star guard Ben Simmons his $360,000 ($A486,000) cheque for each game he misses.
Simmons has yet to play this season, saying he isn't mentally ready.
The team fined him $2 million ($A2.7 million) in penalties for holding out of training camp and not taking part in required team activities.
They stopped fining him two weeks ago when he said he would get assistance from a mental health professional.
However, while Simmons has cooperated with a team doctor for a back issue, he had not told the 76ers about his plan for mental health treatment, despite being asked to submit one more than once, ESPN said.
The All-Star has refused to provide any details or to consult with mental health providers arranged by the team.
Simmons has four years and $147 million ($A198 million) remaining on his five-year contract. At practice, he works individually and fines will begin again if he doesn't take part in team events, such as film study and strength training, per the report.
Simmons has been seeking a trade for months, but the 76ers have been unable to find a trade partner. He and his representatives are not happy with how the team responded to criticism of his subpar play in the Eastern Conference semi-finals last season.
In his absence, Philadelphia are off to a 7-2 start - the best record in the Eastern Conference - after a 109-98 win over the Detroit Pistons.
The renewed fines for Simmons kicked in with that game, ESPN reported.
Just before the season opener in New Orleans, coach Doc Rivers ejected Simmons from practice after he wouldn't sub in for a drill. He subsequently was suspended for the first game.
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