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On top of losing Game 1 of their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series to the Brooklyn Nets, 111-102, on Saturday afternoon, two Philadelphia 76ers were seen looking at a cellphone on the bench late in the game.
Television cameras caught backup big man Amir Johnson showing 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid his cellphone with Philadelphia trailing Brooklyn by 16 points late in the fourth quarter.
76ers coach Brett Brown was not pleased when asked about it in his postgame press conference.
“Completely unacceptable,” Brown said of Johnson’s actions. “It’s not something that we are about.”
Sixers coach Brett Brown on Joel Embiid & Amir Johnson looking at cell phone on bench during Game 1 loss to Nets: "It's completely unacceptable and we will deal with it internally, very soon. It's not something we are and certainly don't condone." pic.twitter.com/oau1n7qj5G
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) April 13, 2019
The NBA Operations Manual forbids the use of cellular phones on the bench during games, the rule stating in the “Use of Technology” section, violations will “result in substantial fines and/or suspensions.”
“I just looked down because he said his daughter was extremely sick and he was checking on her,” Embiid said.
"I just looked down because he said his daughter was extremely sick, and he was checking on her."
—Joel Embiid on why he was looking at Amir Johnson's phone on the bench pic.twitter.com/xwZyKnnQ9f
— ESPN (@espn) April 13, 2019
Brown said he would deal with Johnson, but would not address any specific discipline. However, Shams Charania reported the 76ers have fined Johnson.
The 76ers have fined Amir Johnson for conduct detrimental to the team for cell phone usage on bench during Game 1 against Brooklyn.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 13, 2019
“I take full responsibility and will accept the consequences of my actions. I also apologize to my teammates, the 76ers organization and the fans for the distraction this has caused,” Johnson said in a statement released by the team.
Johnson was inactive for the game, while Embiid, who was listed as doubtful heading leading up to the game because of knee soreness, started and had 22 points and 15 rebounds.