76ers hot shot Embiid tells Nurse to ‘stop bitching’
Joel Embiid told Nick Nurse to stop complaining about the refereeing after he shot more free throws than the entire Toronto Raptors team.
Joel Embiid told reporters he is sick of the Toronto Raptors complaining about foul calls after the Philadelphia 76ers won 112-97 on Monday to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round series.
Nurse told to “stop bitching”
Embiid finished with a game-high 31 points on nine-of-16 shooting and hit as many free throws (12) as the Raptors attempted as an entire team.
The 76ers also received another terrific performance from ascending guard Tyrese Maxey, who had 23 points (eight-of-11 shooting) with nine rebounds and eight assists, while James Harden chipped in with 14 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Speaking with post-game media, Embiid said he knew the Raptors would try to raise the physicality in Game 2, but he wanted to beat them to the punch, earning a technical foul 90 seconds into the action.
“I didn’t really want them to set that [physical] tone,” he said. “I wanted myself and us to set that tone. That’s why I picked up that early technical foul.
“On defense, I just wanted to make sure the refs to let us know how physical they wanted the game to be, so that’s when [OG Anunoby and I] started pushing each other and got techs. I knew that was their game plan, I knew that was going to be their adjustment, but I wanted to be the first one to bring the physicality.”
After such a physical contest, Embiid said he was tired of hearing Raptors coach Nick Nurse complaining about the refereeing and shared what the exchange was between the two late in the fourth quarter.
Triple teaming comes with consequences
“[Nurse] is a great coach, what he has been able to accomplish, I have always been a big fan, but I told him, respectfully, to stop bitching about calls,” he said. “If you triple-team somebody all game, they’re bound to get to the free throw line. If you go and push them and hold them. I feel like every foul was legit, and there probably should have been more, honestly.
“I got a lost of respect for all these coaches, but I feel like they have self-awareness about when they say this kind of stuff [about] whether the referees are not calling [fouls] any more. It’s also to motivate their guys to go out and play better and really put it in the referees’ hands to not call it.
“But when the fouls are as obvious as they were tonight – they put me on the floor a few times – and to me, this is where it gets interesting to me. I’m like, cool, I’m going to come back with more power. I think that’s part of the reason I got a few offensive fouls, too. If you’re going to be physical, I’m going to come back with more power and make you stop me and make it more obvious if the refs don’t want to call it.
“I think [coaches] do it because they have to, but they don’t actually believe it. If you watch the clips, every single foul is a foul.”
76ers coach Doc Rivers also acknowledged his side expected a more physical approach from Toronto and shared the advice he gave his star player.
“No, Jo, you be the dominant guy,” he said. “[Embiid] is the most dominant player in the league. They wanted to muck the game up and play physical. I just told our guys to just play through it.”