Sixers star Joel Embiid and Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins fined for their actions: pic.twitter.com/USn1zdV3Jo— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) April 25, 2022
Joel Embiid has been fined by the NBA. Apparently his comments following the team’s most recent loss crossed a line.
“Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has been fined $15,000 for public criticism of the officiating, it was announced today by Byron Spruell, President, League Operations.
Embiid made his remarks to the media following the 76ers’ 110-102 loss to the Toronto Raptors in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series on April 23 at Scotiabank Arena.”
Embiid was seen giving a sarcastic round of applause to the officials following the team’s 110-102 Game 4 loss. He had been increasingly frustrated with some no calls late in that contest.
Joel giving the refs the golf clap pic.twitter.com/gs8O1pETdM— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) April 23, 2022
During post game availability, Embiid, playing through a torn ligament in his shooting hand, was asked about the facetious gesture.
Per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, here’s what Embiid said, which later drew the ire of Adam Silver’s office:
Joel Embiid’s extended thoughts on his golf clap to the refs postgame.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) April 23, 2022
“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. So, congrats to them.” pic.twitter.com/x1s5yR6etW
“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. So, congrats to them.”
The series heads back to Philly tonight for Game 5. And some of us have already started to wonder why Embiid’s comments have drawn a fine but not Raptors head coach Nick Nurse’s recent complaints:
So, Joel Embiid got fined, but Nick Nurse has not. How does that make any sense? Even if you believe Nurse has a legitimate gripe (I do not) the rules prohibit criticism of officiating.— Paul Hudrick (@PaulHudrick) April 25, 2022
Remember after Games 1 and 2, Nurse was lobbying intensely for better officiating. Did Nurse toe some invisible line when he expressed the following:
“We gotta believe that if we’re legal defensively, that they’re gonna call those,” Nurse told reporters after the game. “We had a couple times where we beat [Embiid] to the spot and he bowled us right over and they just let them lay it in. 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,” Nurse lobbied. “I thought he threw three or four elbows to the face. He got called for one. We’re going to stand in there.”
Following Game 2, Nurse went back to the well. He questioned the courage of the crew by challenging them “at least have the guts” to look more closely at certain plays.
Maybe Nurse has already combed the fine print and realized you can say certain things and not others. You can see that Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins also picked up a fine for his frustrated words.
“In my opinion, one of the most poorly-officiated games I’ve ever seen in my NBA career,” said Jenkins.
Embiid’s comments may have been more subtle, yet more pointed than Nurse’s. I suppose the league interpreted what Joel said as indicating the league wanted a Game 5 and did what it took to force one. Nurse purportedly wasn’t criticizing he was challenging refs to be better in the future or some such distinction that would probably have us all rolling our eyes if it were explained to us.
The Sixers will look to put the pesky Raptors out of their misery Monday. If they cannot, the anxiety among Sixers fans might ratchet up even faster than the apparent hostility between these two rival franchises.