After a strong outing in the first round, Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers have failed to reciprocate the same performance in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. They are currently on the verge of being swept by the undermanned Boston Celtics. In their Game 3 loss on Saturday night, Embiid has something to say about how the game was officiated, specifically his matchup against Celtics center Al Horford.
“I don’t see how it’s possible for someone to guard me and have zero fouls,” Embiid said, via CBS Sports. “I thought a couple plays it wasn’t fair. I’m too big not to be fouled every time I go to the basket or post up.”
Joel Embiid believes the officiating in Game 3 was unfair for the Sixers since Al Horford didn’t receive any foul despite strictly guarding him throughout the game. However, Embiid also has some huge praise for Horford for his outstanding performance on Saturday night. Horford did a great job limiting Embiid on the offensive ends of the floor where the Sixers center only scored 22 points on 41.7 percent shooting from the field and 0-of-2 from beyond the arc.
Aside from forcing him to commit six fouls and three turnovers, Al Horford also blocked two shots from Joel Embiid late in the game. Horford’s layup with eight seconds left in the game helped the Celtics secure victory and put the Sixers in a 0-3 deficit.
Game 3 is really a winnable game for the Sixers, but it is not the officiating that they should blame for their loss. According to Ian Begley of ESPN, Joel Embiid admitted that their recent loss was also a result of their “dumb mistakes” in the crucial part of the game. With eight seconds left in the fourth quarter, J.J. Redick committed a turnover after having a miscommunication with Embiid and Ben Simmons.
It led the Celtics to get an easy fast-break layup with 1.7 seconds left on the clock. Luckily, Marco Belinelli beat the buzzer to send the game to overtime. The second crucial mistake of the Sixers happened with 20 seconds left in overtime. Simmons grabbed an offensive rebound with the Sixers having a one-point lead. Instead of trying to kill time and force the Celtics to commit a foul, Simmons immediately took a shot and missed.
The Sixers will head into the next game with the hope of extending the series with the Celtics and avoid an Eastern Conference Semifinals’ sweep. Game 4 between the Sixers and the Celtics will be on Monday night at Wells Fargo Center.