PHILADELPHIA – Amir Johnson was surprised when he showed his mobile phone on the bench of Philadelphia 76ers teammate Joel Embiid late in Game 1's defeat to the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, resulting in a fine for the team and officials. excuses from the veteran center.
Johnson was surprised by television cameras sitting on the bench and scrolling his phone towards the end of the fourth quarter. The Sixers lost 16 points in a possible 111-102 defeat. Johnson showed something to Embiid on the phone and then slipped it into his warm-up pocket.
"I just looked down because he said that his daughter was extremely sick and that he was watching her," said Embiid.
Johnson apologized a few hours after the team's 111-102 loss.
"I take full responsibility and accept the consequences of my actions," he said in a statement, after not talking to the media after the match. "I also apologize to my teammates, the 76ers' organization and the fans for the distraction it caused."
The NBA's operating manual prohibits the use of cell phones on the bench during games. The regulation, in the "Use of Technology" section, states that violations "will result in substantial fines and / or suspensions".
Sixers general manager Elton Brand said the team fined Johnson for prejudicial conduct. He did not reveal the amount.
When asked why Amir Johnson was on the phone on the bench, Joel Embiid said that he was watching over his daughter because she is very sick.
"I approached the issue with Amir directly and he understands why his actions were unacceptable," Brand said. "We are moving forward together and we are now focusing on the second game."
Philadelphia coach Brett Brown called Johnson's actions "totally unacceptable".
"This is not something we are talking about," he said.
Johnson was inactive. Embiid, who was dubious early in the game, started with 22 points and 15 rebounds.
Dave McMenamin of ESPN and the Associated Press contributed to this report.