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Harden ejected, but not Embiid for groin-area shots to Nets

Philadelphia 76ers' James Harden reacts to a foul called on him during the second half against the Brooklyn Nets in Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Thursday, April 20, 2023, in New York. The 76ers went to Milwaukee without Harden for their season opener and the NBA wants to know why. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

NEW YORK (AP) — James Harden was thrown out for hitting a Brooklyn player in the groin area, after teammate Joel Embiid dodged an ejection for a kick near the same spot of another player Thursday night in Philadelphia’s 102-97 victory in Game 3.

Harden was dribbling while defended closely by Royce O’Neale when he swung out his arm and hit O’Neale, who fell to the court in pain. Referees reviewed the play and called Harden for a flagrant foul 2, an automatic ejection.

Two quarters earlier, the 76ers were perhaps lucky the same penalty wasn’t given to Embiid.

He was given only a flagrant 1 after kicking his leg up toward Nets center Nic Claxton’s groin.

Claxton had just dunked and Embiid fell to the court after fouling him. Claxton then slowly stepped over Embiid, who kicked up his leg before players from both teams rushed in.

After a video review, Embiid was given a flagrant foul 1. Nets fans booed after the decision, angry that the two-time scoring champion was not thrown out. Golden State’s Draymond Green was ejected from Game 2, then suspended for Game 3, of the Warriors’ series against Sacramento after stepping on Kings center Domantas Sabonis.

Claxton was given a technical foul for stepping over Embiid.