The 2023 NBA Playoffs just started but the league has already seen players become more physical during the postseason.
Draymond Green was recently suspended by the NBA for stomping on Sacramento Kings’ center Domantas Sabonis in Game 2 of the Kings-Warriors series.
Just a day later, Joel Embiid was caught kicking Nicolas Claxton in the groin during Game 3 of Philadelphia’s first-round matchup against the Brooklyn Nets.
Check out the video below.
Joel Embiid just kicked Nic Claxton in the nuts, received a Flagrant 1 and stayed in the game.
This is two days after Draymond Green got ejected AND suspended for kicking a dude who was grabbing his foot.
— Guru (@DrGuru_) April 20, 2023
Barkley Believes Embiid’s Kick Was Worse Than Green’s Stomp
After the game, TNT basketball analyst Charles Barkley was unhappy with how the referees and the NBA have handled the increased physicality during the playoffs.
Not only did Barkley defend Green but he also believed that Embiid’s kick was more egregious of an act than Green stomping on Sabonis’ chest.
Barkley wasn’t alone in his assessment. Shaq was quick to agree, saying “Thank you” as Barkley was stating his case.
Check out what Barkley had to say below.:
Charles Barkley on Joel Embiid’s kick:
“I think his was worse than Draymond’s, to be honest with you.”
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) April 21, 2023
Did James Harden Deserve To Be Ejected?
While Embiid was allowed to stay in the game after intentionally kicking Claxton, the NBA officials decided to come down harder on his teammate instead.
James Harden appeared to inadvertently punch Brooklyn Nets’ forward Royce O’Neal in the groin on a drive to the basket. Instead of assessing Harden with a common foul, he was issued a Flagrant 2 foul and ejected from the game.
Watch the clip below and decide for yourself if it warranted an ejection.
What in the Chris Paul groin punch!!!! James Harden has been ejected for hitting Royce O’Neale in the groin. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/Fg14nNdjvL
— Coach Green (@Coach_DGreen) April 21, 2023
The 76ers went to on defeat the Nets 102-97 behind a clutch performance from Tyrese Maxey, who finished with 25 points and five 3-pointers in the win.
Embiid had 14 points and 10 rebounds while Harden added 21 points and five assists before being ejected.