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#pounditSaturday, March 25, 2023

Joel Embiid had disrespectful gesture for refs at end of Game 4

Joel Embiid clapping

Officiating has been a big story in the playoff series between the Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors, and that was the case again in Saturday’s Game 4.

The Raptors staved off elimination with a 110-102 win, forcing the series back to Philadelphia for a Game 5. 76ers center Joel Embiid clearly felt that the officials played a role in that outcome based on his actions as he was walking off the court. TV cameras caught Embiid sarcastically applauding in the direction of the referees as he headed to the locker room.

Embiid certainly seemed to want everyone to know what his gesture was directed at. He even raised his hands a couple of times to make it obvious.

Embiid’s postgame quotes were pretty pointed as well. The 76ers center said he felt that the referees had “one job” and “got it done” in Game 4, seemingly hinting that he felt the officials wanted to find a way to extend the series.

The Raptors had 35 free throw attempts in Game 4 to Philadelphia’s 25. However, this was the first game of the series in which the Raptors had more free throw chances than the 76ers. Indeed, the irony here is that earlier in the series, Embiid was admonishing Raptors coach Nick Nurse for complaining about calls.

In a series as physical as this one, Embiid is always going to feel like he’s not getting the benefit of the doubt from officials. His opponents are probably going to think he’s being officiated too leniently. There’s no use for Embiid to let any of this get in his head at this point, especially with the 76ers still up 3-1 in the series.


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