NBA suspends Karl-Anthony Towns and Joel Embiid two games each following fight

Last night, the Philadelphia 76ers and Minnesota Timberwolves engaged in one of the more vicious fights in recent NBA history. Now, they're paying the price for it. 

The NBA announced that is has suspended Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns two games each for their role in the fight, which occurred in the third quarter. Embiid double-teamed Towns aggressively in forcing a turnover, and that led to punches being thrown between the two. Ben Simmons, who came into the fight late, was not suspended or fined for his role despite appearing to get Towns in a chokehold on the ground. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Simmons was viewed "as a peacemaker" in the scuffle.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported this morning that the Timberwolves took issue with that assessment, citing the chokehold as evidence, but the league apparently disagreed. Minnesota released the following statement after the suspensions were announced. 

"While we are disappointed with the league's decision, we understand the magnitude of this unfortunate incident. The NBA is highly competitive and last night was a reflection of that. We support Karl and will move forward together as a group." 

No other players were disciplined despite several leaving the bench against the letter of league rules during the fight, but this is a rule that the NBA has not typically enforced under commissioner Adam Silver. As a whole, Silver has been fairly conservative when it comes to handing out suspensions for on-court altercations. 

While a typical fight under David Stern's watch often saw several players earn suspensions, often for 10 or more games, Silver tends to tread lightly. Last year's brawl between the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets yielded only three suspensions for a total of nine games: Brandon Ingram for four, Rajon Rondo for three and Chris Paul for two. 

Still, these relatively light suspensions are especially notable in light of what happened after the game. Embiid and Towns took several inappropriate shots at one another on social media last night. Neither exactly showed remorse for what happened, and while the league doesn't follow a specific rubric in doling out suspensions, many believed that the two could see extra discipline for what took place online. 

Towns will now miss Saturday's game against the Washington Wizards and Monday's against the Milwaukee Bucks. Embiid will miss Saturday's trip to Portland to face the Trail Blazers and Tuesday's home game against the Phoenix Suns. The two teams don't play each other again until March, so the two sides will likely have moved on by then, but the feud between the two dates back several years. This probably won't be the last we ever hear of it. 

Sam Quinn joined CBS sports as a basketball writer in 2019. Prior to that, he wrote for 247Sports and Bleacher Report. He is a New York native and NYU graduate who also has roots in Florida and California. Full Bio

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