‘LeBron is Not a Dirty Player’: Doc Rivers Opens up on LeBron James’ Hard Foul on Joel Embiid

Published 01/28/2021, 8:24 AM EST
Jan 27, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) reacts after his score against the Los Angeles Lakers during the fourth quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports


LeBron James is looking like a beast this season. While his Lakers fell to the Philadelphia 76ers in a tightly contested battle, LeBron had a big night for himself. However, the night was also marred with LeBron’s sixth flagrant foul of his career, the first since 2014.

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En route to dropping 34 points, LeBron ended up pushing Joel Embiid while defending him. Embiid was in the air and fell straight on his back, unable to break his fall. It was a scary moment for Philly, as Joel has already spent games on the bench due to back issues. Doc Rivers spoke about the foul after the game.

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“I think it was fine, but that was a hard fall. You know LeBron is not a dirty player, but it was just a very physical play so they had to call the flagrant. All the flagrants today. You can get a flagrant easy today, but that fall was hard.

“There was concern there for sure. The fact that Joel kept going, he clearly wasn’t the same after that, as far as his movement. We already knew that and used him in a lot of pick and rolls because of that.”

LeBron James: Intentionally hurting Embiid?

It would be extremely out of character for LeBron James to intentionally hurt Joel Embiid. However, even a slip of concentration like that could have created a massive issue. If Embiid was to get hurt, LeBron would have to face a lot of flak for his reckless play.

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Jan 27, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) scores past Philadelphia 76ers center Dwight Howard (39) during the fourth quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Thankfully, Embiid was fine and finished the game out. While his productivity was limiter after that, Embiid managed to still have a big game, strengthening his name in the MVP race. A big individual night for LeBron couldn’t save his Lakers from a loss.

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Despite going on a 13-0 run to take a one-point lead with 12 seconds left, Tobias Harris iced the game with a shot to end the Lakers’ perfect road winning streak. Philly wins this early battle between the top seeds and sends LA to second in the West, with the Utah Jazz climbing to the top after their win.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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