Fans of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers were once told to “trust the process” as the team looked to rebuild.
Who knew that process would include watching players look at a cellphone on the bench during an embarrassing playoff loss on their home court?
Late in the fourth quarter, with the Sixers trailing and the Philly crowd having booed the home team for much of the game, TV cameras showed players Amir Johnson and Joel Embiid focused on a cellphone screen instead of the action on the court.
After the game, the Sixers fined Johnson an unspecified amount for “conduct detrimental to the team,” according to the Associated Press.
“I take full responsibility and will accept the consequences of my actions,” he said. “I also apologize to my teammates, the 76ers organization and the fans for the distraction this has caused.”
“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.”
Embiid tried to provide an explanation.
“I just looked down because he said his daughter was extremely sick and he was checking on her,” Embiid said, referring to Johnson, who did not play Saturday.
Nevertheless, Philadelphia coach Brett Brown called the bench behavior “completely unacceptable.”
Embiid did manage to contribute 22 points and 15 rebounds despite having missed nearly a month’s worth of games because of tendinitis in his left knee. Jimmy Butler contributed 36 points.
But it wasn’t enough for Philadelphia, which had finished the regular season with the third best record in the Eastern Conference, good enough for home-court advantage over the No. 6 seeded Nets.
Brooklyn was led by D’Angelo Russell, who scored 26 points, and Caris LeVert, who added 23.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is scheduled for Monday night in Philadelphia.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.