Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid and Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns were suspended two games without pay on Thursday for their roles in a physical altercation during the third quarter of Wednesday’s game.
Both players will serve their suspensions starting with Saturday's games. The Sixers play Portland and Minnesota visits Washington.
Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons was not punished for his role as an aggressor and was identified as a peacemaker after interviews with referees and players, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports.
The person was granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the interviews.
The incident began with 6:45 left in the third quarter when Towns and Embiid got tangled up near Minnesota’s basket following a Towns turnover. It began with shoving, then grabbing, and Towns had Embiid in a brief headlock. As both players scuffled and fell to the court, Embiid had his right thumb planted in Towns’ left eye.
The two were separated by teammates, referees and team personnel from the bench. Simmons had Towns pinned to the floor with his arm around his neck but his actions did not warrant a suspension or fine, according to league investigators.
PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 30: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers gets in a fight with Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves in the third quarter at the Wells Fargo Center on October 30, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775394644 ORIG FILE ID: 1179081642 (Photo: Getty Images)
Both players were ejected. Embiid hammed it up with teammates and the crowd before leaving the court. The incident spilled over to social media, where both players trash-talked each other with profanity.
Towns and Embiid have been on the verge on this kind of incident for a few seasons. Following a Timberwolves-Sixers game on Dec. 13, 2017, both players went to social media to trash talk.
"That caption was as trash as your picture quality," Towns wrote on a photo of Embiid scoring.
"Better quality than your defense," Embiid shot back.
The Timberwolves and Sixers play again March 24 in Minneapolis.
Follow Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt
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