PHILADELPHIA -- Milwaukee Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe was ejected less than three minutes into Thursday night's game against the Philadelphia 76ers after an aggressive game of catch with Sixers center Joel Embiid.
At the 2:36 mark of the first quarter, Embiid and Bledsoe got tangled up, and Embiid extricated himself from it with a little shove at Bledsoe. Taking offense to that, Bledsoe retaliated with a shove of his own into Embiid's back.
Embiid responded by casually tossing the ball at Bledsoe, who at this point was about 10 or 15 feet away. Bledsoe responded by whipping the ball right at Embiid's chest, hitting him square in the middle of it. The ball bounced away before he had a chance to react and wound up landing next to Sixers forward Mike Scott, who proceeded to throw it right at Bledsoe as players from both teams quickly converged around each other.
"Yeah, I mean, I'm always going to ride," Scott said postgame. "That's just how I am.
"I mean, there's right or wrong. If it's wrong, we'll talk about it after the game, but during the game, that's just how I am."
After a brief review, the officials gave their assessment: one technical foul each for Embiid and Scott, and two -- and, with it, an automatic ejection -- for Bledsoe.
"That's unfortunate," Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said of the incident. "Neither team wants to have somebody missing, whether it's injury or somebody getting thrown out. Hopefully we'll be smarter and better for it as a team. [Bledsoe] will be smarter and better for it. He was the first guy greeting his teammates and being there for them when they came in. So maybe it's better that it happens now than another time."
As the partisan crowd cheered wildly at Bledsoe's ejection, Bledsoe, who didn't speak to reporters postgame, walked off the court and back to Milwaukee's locker room. Embiid -- who was at the other end of the court, with his right hand above his head holding on to the net -- waved to Bledsoe as he walked away with his left.
It was the second time in recent weeks that Embiid got into an altercation with an opponent that led to an ejection, with the first being March 20 against the Boston Celtics, when guard Marcus Smart was ejected early in the third quarter after a similar dust-up ended with Smart shoving Embiid from behind, causing him to fall to the ground.
"I was just thinking that I'm pretty good at what I do," Embiid said. "This is the second time that I got one of the key guys on the other team thrown out, so I was pretty excited."
With Thursday's 128-122 victory, Milwaukee clinched home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. Philadelphia, meanwhile, still has a magic number of two to clinch the third seed over the Celtics and one to clinch it over the Indiana Pacers. At least one of those numbers will be reduced by one Friday night, when the Pacers host the Celtics.