Sixers Star Sounds Off on Officiating: 1 Ref Targeting James Harden?

Joel Embiid

Getty Images Joel Embiid

Officiating has been a heated topic of debate in the Sixers-Raptors playoff series. Nick Nurse complained about Philadelphia getting too many calls, specifically open-handed slaps. After Game 4, it was Joel Embiid’s turn to vent his frustration over the refs.

Embiid went 7-of-9 from the free-throw line on Saturday, a small number he made sure to highlight in his post-game press conference. The Sixers went to the charity stripe 25 times as a team after making 84 trips to the line in the first three games. Round of applause for the zebras.

“I’m gonna take my own advice and not complain about fouls, but like I was doing at the end of the game, they did a great job,” Embiid told reporters. “I admire the job that they did today. To me, it felt like they had one job coming in here tonight and they got it done. So congrats to them.”

Meanwhile, the Raptors got to the free-throw line 35 times and made 28 of them. Toronto earned a 110-102 victory to avoid the sweep and send the series back to Philly for Game 5. Expect the gamesmanship between the two teams over the officiating to continue.

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James Harden vs. Scott Foster

One certain ref seems to have a thing against Sixers star James Harden. Well, his track record in games involving Harden would suggest something is up. Harden moved to 1-13 in games officiated by Scott Foster who was the crew chief in Game 4. It’s probably a coincidence, but it’s one of those weird stats worth pointing out.

Not for nothing, Chris Paul has an 0-14 record in games officiated by Foster. NBA fans on Twitter were quick to bring up Foster’s involvement in a 2007 gambling scandal that rocked the league. Disgraced referee Tim Donaghy was sent to prison for his role in fixing games.

“Next game, if they’re not gonna call it, I’m gonna be even more aggressive offensively and defensively,” Embiid told reporters after Game 4. “If they wanna give them fouls or if they wanna call no fouls, really gotta make them earn it and really be physical.”

Drake Trolls Embiid After Game 4 Loss

The back and forth between Toronto rapper Drake and Embiid has been everyone’s favorite distraction during the Sixers-Raptors series. The two were jawing at each other after Game 3 as the Sixers’ big man told Drake: “Get your a** out, I’m coming for that sweep too.” Naturally, Drake had a priceless reaction following the Raptors’ 110-102 win on Saturday.

Drake blasted off a viral meme that showed Scottie Barnes holding up a baby dressed up like Embiid. The photo-shopped image swapped Barnes’ Rookie of the Year trophy for the Sixers star. Drake captioned the photo with: “What happened to that sweep JoJo?? See when you get back.”

Embiid had addressed Drake’s trash-talking after Game 3 when he admitted to “letting him know” who was going to win the series.

“I didn’t really hear him [trash-talking] but obviously, he’s always talking,” Embiid said. “But, of course, I had to let him know, obviously we’re trying to get Game 4 and go for the sweep.”

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