Sixers’ Joel Embiid Rips Hawks Star in Most Unusual Way

Joel Embiid

Getty Sixers center Joel Embiid argues with an official during Philly's 104-99 win in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Joel Embiid pleaded his case for a missed foul call on the court and got a technical for it. After the Sixers beat the Hawks 104-99 in Game 6, the All-Star center furthered his argument for better officiating in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Embiid’s main point, call it both ways.

Embiid was responding to a question about a fourth-quarter altercation he had with John Collins when he took aim at the refs. They whistled him for an offensive foul with 4:03 left in the game after he inadvertently put an elbow in Collins’ face.

The two players got tangled up and crashed hard to the floor in Atlanta while continuing to talk trash to one another. Collins appeared to take a swing at the Sixers’ big man and then Trae Young rushed in to push Embiid from behind. Double technical fouls were assessed, but Embiid was confused as to why. He refused to mention Young by name, too.

“I got a tech for it and I didn’t think it was an offensive foul,” Embiid told reporters. “I was just trying to stay calm and had my hands up, and someone [Young] was pushing me from the back and I don’t understand why I got a tech but I guess it is what it is. I was hacked all night and I don’t think I got to the free-throw line until I got to the fourth quarter. It was questionable but we got the win and that’s all that matters.”

The runner-up for MVP came into Game 6 averaging roughly 17 free-throw attempts per game. He went to the charity stripe just four times in 38 minutes on Friday night. The Sixers went to the line 23 times versus 24 times for the Hawks.

“I told them [the refs] that they had to call it both ways,” Embiid said. “We had gotten a bunch of guys, whether it was Ben [Simmons] or Tobias [Harris] in foul trouble. I just felt like it wasn’t called both ways especially because of the minimal contact that they get on their point guard.

“When it comes to us, we don’t get the same thing. I just want it called both ways. If you’re going to call something on their point guard then it should be the same way [for us]. They should call the same thing on me if I get touched.”

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Focused for 48 Minutes, Ready for Game 7

Officiating aside, the Sixers took care of business in Game 6 and return home with a chance to finish off Atlanta on Sunday night. That game is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Wells Fargo Center, a place where Philadelphia went 29-7 during the regular season. Embiid can’t wait to feed off the energy of the home crowd.

Especially after missing out on home-court advantage last year in the Orlando bubble when the Boston Celtics swept them in the first round.

“I’m excited,” Embiid said. “That’s why we worked so hard in the regular season to get that home-court advantage. Playing in front of our fans, I know we blew that lead last game [Game 5], that’s something we should have never done. But you know tonight we just kept telling each other 48 minutes. We gotta be focused for 48 minutes so that’s what we had to do and we’ll be fine.”

Embiid Vows to Never Play That Bad Again

The box score shows that Embiid finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds on Friday night. It marked his fourth double-double of the postseason.

However, Embiid wasn’t pleased with his performance and vowed to play better in Game 7. He went 9-of-24 from the field while missing three wide-open looks from three-point range in Game 6. Not good enough.

“I’m definitely going to be better,” Embiisd said. “There is no chance I play worse than tonight shooting the ball. I’m at home, in front of the home crowd, so it’s the perfect setup for us to win. Keep the same mentality, 48 minutes, no let down. Make the ball, share the ball, get the ball to the right people and we’re going to be fine.”

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