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76ers’ Joel Embiid fined by NBA for criticizing referees after loss to Raptors

The MVP finalist couldn’t keep his temper in check following a frustrating loss

Paul Rudder
76ers’ Joel Embiid fine by NBA for criticizing referees after loss to Raptors
Nick TurchiaroUSA TODAY Sports

The 76ers’ star is normally in the headlines for his exceptional performances, but this time around it was for what he said.

76ers Joel Embiid fined by the NBA

According to reports on Monday, the Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid was fined $15,000 by the NBA for comments which he made about the referees after Philadelphia’s Game 4 loss to the Toronto Raptors in the first round of their playoff series on Saturday. At the time, Embiid congratulated the referees in what appeared to be a sarcastic manner after his team had gone down 110-102. At the center of Embiid’s anger was the fact that the Raptors had 35 free throws compared with on 25 for the Sixers, something that the center definitely took issue with.

As for the words that got him in trouble, it wasn’t hard to spot the double meaning in the big man’s statement after the game. “I’m going to take my own advice and not complain about fouls,” he said. “But like I was doing at the end of the game: They did a great job. 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. Congrats to them, tonight.” Embiid was then asked if he felt the ‘job’ was to secure a Game 5 for the raptors, to which he responded, “I don’t know. ...But you can figure it out. But they did a great job. Like I said, I’m gonna take my own advice and not complain about it. I guess, next game, if they’re not gonna call it, I’m gonna be even more aggressive offensively and defensively. If they want to give them, like, fouls or if they want to call, really, no fouls, I’ve really got to make them earn them and really be physical.”

Is Joel Embiid right or wrong?

While they will definitely feel frustrated, the Sixers are still very much in command of the series with a 3-1 lead. Despite his comments landing him in a spot of trouble, Embiid put in a credible shift on the night with 21 points on 7 for 9 shooting at the free-throw line. Incidentally, he was also seen clapping at the officials as he left the court in Toronto on Monday night, an action which probably didn’t help his case.

There is, however, a degree of irony in the whole scenario. Raptors head coach Nick Nurse has so far been very vocal about the amount of free throws that have been awarded to the MVP finalist. Indeed, across the first two games of the series, Embiid shot a total of 25 free throws, including 12 in just the first quarter of Game 2. Could the quantity awarded in Game 4 to Toronto be related? Is Embiid being cherry picking? Questions for consideration surely, but what remains certain here and now is that Embiid - who is currently playing with an injured thumb - will have to up his game on Monday night, when him and his team attempt to eliminate the Raptors in Game 5.

Grizzlies Taylor Jenkins also fined for NBA referee critique

It would appear that officials were under the microscope in this last round of NBA games, as the Memphis Grizzlies head coach, Taylor Jenkins openly criticized the referees following his teams’ loss 119-118 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. “I’ve never seen a more inconsistent, arrogant officiated game,” Jenkins said. “It’s embarrassing. I’m at a loss for words.” Subsequent to his comments to the media, Jenkins was also fined $15,000 by the league on Monday.

For context the Timberwolves were non stop in their attacking and went 31-for-40 from free throw line. Star Jaren Jackson Jr. fouled out with seven points, and 25 of the Grizzlies’ 33 fouls were called on starters. By contrast Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns had 17 free throws - of which he made 14 - and despite his below par showing in Game 3, was actually key to the Timberwolves Game 4 victory.


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