Nick Nurse doesn’t like the way the refs are calling fouls in the Sixers-Raptors playoff series. Scratch that, he hates it. And Nurse let it be known that he had a problem with the officiating by getting into Joel Embiid’s ear about it in Game 2.
Nurse was chatting with Embiid during the final 20 seconds of regulation with the Sixers’ victory song blaring over the loudspeakers at Wells Fargo Center. The Raptors coach seemed to be complaining about Embiid getting too many cheap foul calls, something Nurse has been harping on for three straight days. Words were exchanged.
Embiid politely listened then said something in reply before walking away with a satisfied scowl. It looked kind of cordial, only slightly uncomfortable. The Sixers’ big man had the last laugh after going for 31 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in a 112-97 win on Monday night. Embiid got to the free-throw line 14 times and knocked down 12 of them.
After the game, Nurse was asked about the exchange and didn’t hold back. Embiid was the one sending the warning message about Toronto’s strategy of fouling the NBA leader in free-throw attempts and free-throw makes. Nurse explained what he said, via Tim Bontemps: “[Embiid] said, ‘I’m gonna keep making all my free throws if you keep fouling me,’ and I said, ‘Well, you might have to.’”
Embiid didn’t disagree with Nurse’s account of their conversation, adding: “I respectfully told him, ‘Stop bitching about calls.'” So, there you have it.
The latest Sixers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Sixers newsletter here!
Nurse Rips Refs for Open Hand Slaps, Missed Charge
Nurse’s conversation with Embiid might have been cordial but he unloaded on the refs in his post-game press conference. The championship-winning coach accused them of missing what he thought was an easy charge call on Embiid when he went in hard on Gary Trent Jr. who picked up a blocking foul. Nurse wanted the charging call there.
“I don’t see how that’s not a charge,” Nurse said, via Liberty Ballers. “You see it live and it looks like a charge. You look at it on the film, it looks like a charge. So I thought that was a missed one. There was another open hand slap to the face. Again, I don’t understand why they will not call them but other than that, I guess there weren’t as many elbows to the face that we had to endure.”
The open hand slaps were a point of contention for Nurse in Game 1. So much so that he brought it up 90 minutes before tip-off in Game 2 during his pre-game media availability.
“We got run over a bunch when we were legal,” Nurse said, via Josh Lewenburg. “There were several shots to the face, which I don’t understand why they were not reviewed. I hope they have enough guts to stop the game and at least look at that stuff.”
Doc Rivers Moves Up All-Time Wins List
Philadelphia’s 112-97 victory over Toronto was extra special for Doc Rivers. He moved into a tie for fourth place on the NBA’s all-time list for playoff coaching wins with 100.
The Sixers coach moved ahead of Hall of Famer Red Auerbach while matching Larry Brown who guided Philly to the NBA Finals in 2001. Rivers has a long way to go to catch the top dog, though. Who is it? Phil Jackson and his 229 career playoff wins.