Sixers’ Doc Rivers Addresses Joel Embiid Getting Fined: ‘Oh Wow’

Joel Embiid

Getty Sixers star Joel Embiid was fined $15,000 for semi-critical comments he made about the refs for their officiating in Game 4 vs. Toronto.

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers was surprised to learn of Joel Embiid’s fine. He feigned ignorance when asked about it about 90 minutes prior to tip-off in Game 5. “Oh, Joel Embiid was fined? Wow,” Rivers told reporters.

Embiid was docked $15,000 for semi-critical comments over the officiating in Game 4. The Sixers’ star playfully insinuated that the NBA was trying to force a longer series and even doled out a hearty golf clap for the refs as he left the court in Toronto. It was funny to everyone – except those stuffy higher ups in New York City.

The irony wasn’t lost on Rivers who carefully navigated his response, although he did point out the hypocrisy of it all. Raptors head coach Nick Nurse has been mercilessly begging for more balanced officiating from the refs in terms of the way fouls are called. And he hasn’t been penalized a single dime.

“I have no thoughts. I’m not going to get into that,” Rivers said of Embiid’s fine, “but clearly that doesn’t sound right to you, does it? Or to anyone else. Without me saying a word, they are right about it. And I didn’t say a word.”

The latest Sixers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Sixers newsletter here!

Join Heavy on Sixers!

Embiid Playing with Torn Ligament

Embiid will have to play through the pain of a torn ligament in his right thumb in Game 5. There is no treatment for it, according to Rivers, and the injury will require surgery after the season. For now, Embiid is sucking it up and laying it all on the line for his team which is the opposite of what one of his former teammates is doing up in Brooklyn.

“There is no treatment,” Rivers said. “That’s one thing I told you guys the other day, the one thing I know is it’s not going to get any worse.”

Rivers dealt with the same injury during his playing days. Like Embiid, he is right-handed and had to learn how to rely on his non-dominant left hand. It took Rivers a game to get used to it.

“It took me a game to just get used to it,” Rivers said. “Unfortunately, I wasn’t as good as Joel – you can go back and look at my numbers and figure that out – but I could pass the ball, and I had to pass left-handed a lot. And if you ever saw me play, I literally had no left hand so I had to figure that out. But honestly, I was talking to an old teammate yesterday and by the end, it never bothered me anymore. I knew it was there, but you just get through it.”

Nick Nurse Trying to Make Life Hard for Embiid

Nurse didn’t address the growing ref controversy going on in the Raptors-Sixers series. He didn’t need to. What Nurse did talk about was the gargantuan task of stopping Embiid on the basketball court. With a good thumb or a bad thumb, the 7-footer is tough to limit in the paint.

“It’s no secret that we’re sending a lot of people on a lot of schemes at him because we have to. We have to,” Nurse told reporters prior to Game 5. “He’s that good, and he’s that big, and he’s that strong. If he gets moving it’s hard for us to not keep him off the free-throw line, so I hope we can turn him over a little but tonight. I’m not counting on it, but hopefully we can just make it a difficult, even if it’s 30 [points] or whatever it ends up being, I hope it’s hard earned and he has to really work to get ’em.”

Read More