76ers’ Joel Embiid Takes Major Shot At Raptors’ Coach Nick Nurse

Philadelphia 76ers, Joel Embiid, Toronto Raptors, Nick Nurse, NBA News
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There aren’t many teams in the NBA that have a player that can contain Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid. He uses his size to his advantage, mixing the physical advantages that he has with great skill and finesse. It is something that the Toronto Raptors, who are matched up against the 76ers in the first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs, are finding out the hard way.

Toronto and Philadelphia see a lot of each other during the regular season as they are both members of the Atlantic Division. In three matchups during the regular season, Embiid averaged 29 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. Toronto doesn’t possess the size to match up against him, so they use a lot of exotic defensive schemes to try and slow him down.

Toronto’s goal with those defenses is to get the ball out of Embiid’s hands so that his teammates have to beat them. But, that frantic defense will also result in some big mismatches and a lot of fouling, which head coach Nick Nurse has been critical of.

Following Game 1 on Saturday, Nurse laid into the referees, as he believed his players weren’t getting a fair shake and Embiid was getting away with a lot more than he should be.

LATEST NBA NEWS: 2022 NBA Playoffs Predictions: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors

“We had a couple times where we beat him to the spot, and he bowled us right over, and they just let him lay it in,” Nurse told reporters Saturday. “I don’t care if you’re 5-foot-11 and 160 pounds, if you beat him to the spot, and he runs you over, it’s a foul.

“I thought he threw three or four elbows to the face. He got called for one. … Nobody can guard that guy if they’re just gonna let him run you over time and time again.”

Things certainly didn’t improve in Game 2 for the Raptors. Embiid attempted 12 free throws in the first quarter alone in a very high-scoring affair that eventually began to slow down in the second half.

LATEST NBA NEWS: 2022 NBA Playoffs Predictions: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors

When you are playing defense as the Raptors are, there is going to be fouling; it is just the nature of the game. Nurse’s constant badgering of the referees is something that drew Joel Embiid’s attention and the two shared some words near the end of Game 2.

“He’s a great coach, obviously, what he’s been able to accomplish, I always been a big fan,” Embiid said postgame, according to The Athletic. “But I told him, respectfully, to stop b—-ing about calls because I saw what he said last game.

“I mean, if you’re going to triple-team somebody all game, they’re bound to get to the free-throw line. … So, I feel like every fouls were legit and probably should’ve been more.”

In addition to what was shared by Embiid about the discussion, Nurse added more about what was discussed. He also gave Embiid his flowers, talking about how good of a player he is.

“(Embiid) was saying to me that (he’s) going to keep making all the free throws if (we) keep fouling (him), and I said you might have to,” Nurse said following Game 2, according to TSN’s Josh Lewenberg. “Good player, man. I have a lot of respect for him. He’s certainly playing great.”

LATEST NBA NEWS: 2022 NBA Playoffs Predictions: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors

A ton of free throws isn’t anything new for Joel Embiid, who led the league with 11.8 free throw attempts per game. Could the refereeing change a little bit when the series shifts back to Toronto? Sure, there could be a little adjustment from the crew, but for the most part, the game will be called similarly. It will have to be the Raptors that change their approach.

There isn’t much more the Raptors can do other than get healthy. Not having Scottie Barnes hurt at points in the game as the team’s ball movement became non-existent after the first quarter. Gary Trent Jr. only being able to play nine minutes hurt, as he is overcoming an illness.

Hopefully, for the Raptors’ sake, both players are healthy and ready to go for a must-win Game 3 at home on Wednesday night at 8 PM ET.

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