So, of course, Minnesota was displeased with the NBA’s verdict – two-game suspensions for Towns and Embiid, end of list.
But the Timberwolves’ grievances apparently didn’t end there. In fact, the Timberwolves are so upset, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic described them as “fuming.”
First, team officials believed Embiid instigated the tussle in the third quarter by baiting Towns after collapsing to double-team him and force a turnover.
Second, they felt Embiid’s antics before leaving the court, which included shadow-boxing and whipping the home crowd into a frenzy, were over the top compared to Towns’ quiet exit. The Timberwolves also believed Embiid’s escalation of the incident with a stinging and vulgar series of messages lobbed at Towns on social media set him apart from Towns on the scale of guilt.
Towns looked like the aggressor to me. It appeared he even threw a punch.
Yes, Embiid did more after the fight – on the court, in his post-game press conference and on social media. But Towns also participated in the social-media bickering. Importantly, the NBA addressed the post-fight conduct, saying the suspensions factored Embiid’s and Towns’ “continued escalation following the incident.”
I thought Towns, as the aggressor in the fight, would get suspended longer than Embiid. But Embiid did more afterward. I wouldn’t be surprised if Towns’ in-fight conduct got judged more harshly than Embiid’s and Embiid’s post-fight conduct got judged more harshly than Towns. An equal punishment for both seems about fair.
I have no idea of Simmons’ intent. Ditto Minnesota guard Jeff Teague‘s. Like Simmons with Towns, Teague also grabbed Embiid from behind. Again, an equal punishment for Simmons and Teague seems about fair.
The Timberwolves just sound whiny.