28. January 2021
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid thinks Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James should have been penalized with a foul and ejected from the game in the Philadelphia 76ers’ 107-106 home victory over the defending champions on Wednesday night.
First, it’s a very dangerous game, Embiid said of James’ foul that occurred at 5:44 of the third quarter. I guarantee you that if it had been me, I probably would have been taken out of the game, which has happened to me in the past when I made blatant mistakes for no reason.
While he was upset that James was only given an obvious 1 – keeping him in the game – Embiid was also upset that 68 seconds later Anthony Davies was booed for an elbow that Embiid didn’t think he deserved.
If you compare that to what I had, what I thought I had, I didn’t really hit him, I didn’t elbow him, said Embiid, who scored 28 points, six rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots in 38 minutes. I may have mentioned it, but I don’t think it’s worthy of outrage if you want to compare the two.
These are difficult pieces, and I thought it should be an obvious 2.
Sixers coach Doc Rivers, who comes from a different sports era that required a more physical game than today, said he didn’t think any of the games should have been called extreme.
His only concern at the moment was that Embiid, who had fallen a few feet onto his back and was lying on the ground twisting in pain, was okay afterwards. Although Embiid struggled to come around after the game, he managed to stay in the game and help the Sixers win.
First, LeBron is not a dirty player, Rivers said. It was just a physical game, and they probably called it blatantly.
You know, any flagship tonight… can be a blatant convenience these days. But it has been a difficult fall, and there have certainly been some concerns. Of course, the fact that Joel kept moving forward is not the same as his movement afterwards. And we knew that, which is why we used it a lot in pick-and-rolls.
Embiid, who recently appeared on the injury report with a sore back that kept him out of the game, said he wouldn’t know how his back reacted until he woke up in the morning, but felt it limited him during the game.
He said part of Philadelphia’s collapse in the final period – in which the Lakers scored 13 points in a row to erase a 12-point Sixers lead with three minutes to go and take a 106-105 lead with 11.2 seconds left – was due to his back limiting his mobility.
It’s my fault, Embiid said of Philadelphia’s blunder. I missed a few times. I had no legs left. Not because I was tired, but because my back couldn’t dominate like it did in the fourth trimester. I missed a few shots, we made defensive mistakes, they made three-pointers and they were ahead.
Just when it looked like the lingering questions about the Sixers and their inability to close the gap would haunt Philadelphia again, they were saved by a great shot from Tobias Harris. He took the pass with confidence, dribbled elbow to elbow against Lakers goaltender Alex Caruso, and bent out on the decisive jump shot with 3.0 seconds left.
I’m someone who sees themselves in these places, so when the opportunity arises, I work on this plan over and over again, but sometimes I have enough confidence to let it go and be happy with the outcome, Harris says. Tonight went well.
The shot also allowed the Sixers to exploit those weaknesses late in the game and nearly ruined an impressive performance by the home team in the first 45 minutes against the defending NBA champions, Harris said.
I’d say a little bit of both, said Harris, who finished with 24 points when asked if he was more focused on being happy with the scoring or disappointed with Philadelphia’s blunt play in the final stanza. I would say there is always growth in everything. So today’s win is a great win for us against a great team, but at the same time we know we could have been better, especially in the fourth quarter.
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