Sixers’ Embiid Trolls Jazz Star on Floor, Then Again off Floor

Joel Embiid nudges refs into calling a technical foul.

Getty Joel Embiid nudges refs into calling a technical foul.

Sixers star Joel Embiid hit the floor with 57.5 seconds to play in overtime on Wednesday night in the team’s showdown with the West-leading Utah Jazz, going for an offensive rebound following a missed put-back attempt from Ben Simmons. He appeared to exaggerate the contact from Jazz center Rudy Gobert, and when Gobert was whistled for a foul, the just about every player on the floor for the Jazz exploded in outrage.

Worst of the bunch was Donovan Mitchell, who put his hands to his head, shouted and committed the dreaded and forbidden air-punch. Embiid, back on his feet, motioned toward Mitchell, signaling to the refereeing crew that Mitchell was in the process of earning a technical foul.

The refs agree, and Mitchell was whistled. Seth Curry made the tech and the Sixers took a four-point lead. The Sixers went on to win by eight points.

After the game, Embiid posted a video of his lobbying efforts. Mitchell, in response, wrote on Twitter, “You a fool bruh,” witht a crying/laughing emoji to finish.

Embiid and Mitchell are friends off the court. Embiid, who nicknamed himself “Troel” Embiid on Twitter, responded, “Hahaha Second time I get you T’d up lmao GG.”

Donovan Mitchell was Irate About Refereeing

Mitchell, who later received another technical foul and was ejected, was not so jovial after the game, ripping the referees for what he viewed as lopsided calls in the Sixers’ favor. Philadelphia shot 35 free throws, while the Jazz shot 19.

It’s tough. It’s tough to go out there and see how we fight and compete and have a game like that taken from us. Now I’m never, ever one to blame a ref, the blame the officials—I could say we could have done more, but this is getting out of hand.

There have been games like this that we’ve won, there have been games like this that we lost but this whole refereeing stuff, we’re nice, we don’t complain, we don’t, like, get frustrated. We fight through things. The fact that we just continually get screwed in a way by this—we won this game in my opinion. We won this game, in my personal opinion. … It’s getting f****** ridiculous that this is what’s happening. We have the whole second half of the season to get ready for and I’m sick of this. We all are.

Sixers Close NBA First Half Strong

The win caps a nice stretch for the Sixers to close out the first half of the season heading into Sunday’s All-Star game which will feature Embiid and Simmons. Philly finished with four wins in its final five games before the break, which included Ws over the Raptors, Mavericks and Pacers before Utah, with all four teams in the thick of the playoff chase.

The one dud of the last 11 days came against the Cavaliers, an overtime game in which the Sixers came out with low energy and never were quite able to pull away. Still, the Sixers, at 104.2 points per 100 possessions had the No. 2 defense in the NBA over those five games.

The Sixers are 24-12, first in the East.

The team is off until March 11. A late-March road trip looms, taking the Sixers first to New York, then through the Western Conference, with matchups against the Warriors, Lakers, Clippers and Nuggets.

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