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NBA Hawks lose Angola’s Fernando for playoff decider

Angolan big man Bruno Fernando of the Atlanta Hawks was suspended Sunday by the NBA for the team’s Sunday night winner-take-all playoff showdown with the Philadelphia 76ers.

The one-game ban without pay for leaving the bench area during an on-court altercation was issued after an incident with 4:02 remaining in the fourth quarter of Philadelphia’s 104-99 victory Friday at Atlanta.

Fernando has played only three minutes off the bench in two playoff appearances for the Hawks this year, scoring two points. In 33 regular-season appearances, he averaged 1.5 points and 2.4 rebounds a game.

Philadelphia 76ers star forward Joel Embiid of Cameroon was fined $35,000 by the league as well on Sunday for escalating the altercation.

The league said in a statement that Embiid was fined for pursuing Hawks forward John Collins “in an unsportsmanlike manner” and not complying with an NBA security interview following the incident.

The Sixers’ triumph equalized the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semi-final series at three wins each, setting the stage for Sunday’s decider at Philadelphia.

Should the Hawks win and advance to the Eastern Conference final to face the Milwaukee Bucks, Fernando would be able to return.

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