Knicks take issue with Joel Embiid's 'dirty' flagrant foul on Mitchell Robinson in Game 3 loss at 76ers

Tom Thibodeau and the Knicks knew that Game 3 of the Eastern Conference first round at the Philadelphia 76ers would be a battle.

To several players who spoke with reporters after Thursday's 125-114 loss, though, Joel Embiid's Flagrant 1 foul on Mitchell Robinson -- grabbing his leg and knocking him down at the 4:34 mark of the first quarter -- crossed a line.

"I think the grab that he did on Mitch was dirty," said Donte DiVincenzo, who confronted Embiid after the play.

Thibodeau suggested in his postgame news conference that a pool reporter ask crew chief Zach Zarba about why Embiid's actions, which Isaiah Hartenstein described as "not a basketball play," did not merit a Flagrant 2 foul.

"In that situation, the crew gets together, we go and review the foul," Zarba said. "In this instance, the crew was unanimous along with the replay center official in Secaucus that this foul was unnecessary but did not rise to the level of a Flagrant 2. The unnecessary contact rose to the level of a Flagrant 1 but we were unanimous that this did not rise to the level of excessive contact, unnecessary and excessive, which would have been a Flagrant 2 ejection. That's why we kept it a Flagrant 1."

While Robinson exited Wells Fargo Center in a walking boot after missing the second half with a left ankle sprain, his status going forward remains to be seen.

"Just happy Mitch didn't get seriously injured on that," said Josh Hart. "I'm all for tough fouls or playing tough, playoff fouls, but that's something that can put a guy out for a significant amount of time. So lucky he didn't get seriously hurt during that time, and it is what it is."

Up 2-1 in the series, the Knicks figure to get the 76ers' best shot again when Game 4 tips off Sunday at 1 p.m.

"We knew what Game 3 was going to be," Hart said. "I mean, come on now. We knew, especially with how Game 2 ended. We knew what it would be. So am I surprised? Not at all. At the end of the day, now we've just got to move on."