James Harden starred in a controversial moment during Game 3 of the Philadelphia 76ers vs. Brooklyn Nets series.
The shooting guard hit Nic Claxton with his elbow, which granted him an ejection from the game.
This situation raised some eyebrows not only within the Sixers organization but the rest of the NBA.
Former player-turned-analyst Tim Legler had some complaints about this decision.
"In the 10 years I've played, 20+ at ESPN I don't think I've seen a worst ejection."
-Tim Legler (@LegsESPN) on James Harden getting tossed from last night's game #NBAPlayoffs
Tim's full appearance: https://t.co/SuCicb0evA pic.twitter.com/K4G0eHSal9
— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) April 22, 2023
“I can’t [explain this decision] because that’s one of the strangest ejections I’ve ever seen. In the ten years I’ve played, 20 plus at ESPN, I don’t know that I’ve seen a worse ejection. James Harden, and any referee should know this looking at the review, if you’re a basketball player, and you’ve got the ball and you’ve got a guy crowding you to the extent that he was being crowded, all airspace is taken away. There’s already contact before James Harden has even initiated his move, the ball is gonna be in his right hand. The momentum of your left hand is going to go forward and it’s going to go out to fend off the defender. You then have to make the determination, if you’re Tony Brothers, and look at it and say ‘Did he intentionally punch him in the groin?’ And that’s the determination they made, and I just don’t know how you conclude that when to me, it was so innocuos the motion with his hand.”
This ejection didn’t please anybody, especially the Sixers.
Harden is their second-best player and going against the Nets without him put Philadelphia in a complex position.
Fortunately, Joel Embiid showed up for his team once again and led them to a big win.
The NBA decided to not make any further decisions on this play, leaving the path clear for Harden to play in Game 4.
Now, Harden will have to lead his team to the second round of the postseason without Embiid on the court.
Doc Rivers called out the league for ejecting Harden and also suspending Draymond Green.
The head coach believes this could open the door for rivals to target superstars.
Embiid already claimed the Nets tried to get him ejected from the game, but they couldn’t succeed.
Joel Embiid on the Nets mucking the game up: “Get us ejected, fluster us, do whatever it takes. If that’s the only way they can win, then I can’t do nothing about it, but we focus on the positive which is we stayed together.” #Sixers https://t.co/GPErCCaNy7 via @SixersWire
— Ky Carlin (@Ky_Carlin) April 21, 2023
Harden has averaged 17.3 points, 8.0 assists and 4.7 rebounds in three games this series.
He needs to step up to help his team seal the deal against the Nets.
The Sixers remain a threat in the East, but without Embiid, the situation changes a lot.
They know they have a big chance to win it all this season, but with these controversies, the job gets harder.NEXT: Fans React To Today's Joel Embiid News