NBA Rules Against Bulls on Controversial Play

Getty DeMar DeRozan

The Chicago Bulls dropped their second game of the season on Wednesday night in the City of Brotherly Love against the Philadelphia 76ers. Near the end of the game, 76ers star Joel Embiid was called for a foul on a DeMar DeRozan drive, but the call was overturned.

The NBA’s Last-2-Minute Report was released on Thursday, and the league office ruled the decision to reverse the call after the 76ers-requested review was the right result. NBC Sports’ K.C. Johnson tweeted the info: 

While some Bulls fans may hate to admit it, when you recall the play and read the explanation, it’s hard to argue. The explanation reads: “Replay review of the foul called on Embiid (PHI) pursuant to a coach’s challenge was deemed successful.

Embiid makes clean ball contact to block DeRozan’s (CHI) driving shot attempt and any follow-through contact after the block is deemed incidental.” That last part is key, “any follow-through contact” which means the body collision we saw in the play is NOT a foul. If you watch the play, you can see Embiid blocks it clean, and the body clash happens after he’s already made the block. 

76ers Def. Bulls 103-98 – Recap

The Bulls got off to a slow start against the 76ers and spent most of the game trying to get back into the contest. The 76ers came out red hot in the first quarter from three-point range. Furkan Korkmaz, who was playing for the injured Danny Green (left hamstring), Matisse Thybulle, Seth Curry and Embiid all made first-quarter threes to help push Philly to a 29-19 advantage.

The 76ers were up 14 points at halftime as most of the Bulls struggled to find a rhythm. DeRozan led all scorers with 37 and Zach LaVine scored 27 thanks to a productive third-quarter spurt that helped push the game closer. DeRozan sank a 17-footer with 6:40 remaining to tie the game at 87, but the Bulls wouldn’t get that close again as Philly outscored Chicago 16-11 the rest of the way.

The same two teams will meet on Saturday night in Chicago.

Looking Ahead to the Bulls’ Rematch With the 76ers

The 76ers were playing without Green and forward Tobias Harris. The latter tested positive for COVID-19 and according to 76ers head coach Doc Rivers: “He’s doing OK, but not great, honestly. That’s the most I’m gonna say about it, but it hit him for sure. A lot of guys have had this, and they are mad like ‘What the hell? I’m fine’, Tobias is not in that category. I can tell you that.”

We don’t know if Harris or Green will be back for the 76ers when they come to the United Center. Neither player played on Thursday night when the 76ers defeated the Detroit Pistons 109-98 behind a combined 62 points from Embiid, Curry and Tyrese Maxey. The Bulls will look to make adjustments, limit the 76ers’ three-point looks and improve their own efficiency from beyond the arc.

Chicago made just 28.6% of its threes on Wednesday. Perhaps if the Bulls had shot the ball better from deep, they wouldn’t have needed the benefit of the doubt on Embiid’s blocked shot.

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