76ers star Joel Embiid strode up to Raptors coach Nick Nurse for a chat in the final seconds of Game 2.
“I told him, respectfully,” Embiid said, “to stop b****ing about calls.”
Embiid scored 31 points – including shooting 12-of-14 on free throws – as Philadelphia steamrolled Toronto 112-97 in Game 2 Monday, taking a 2-0 lead in their first-round series.
Nurse had criticized the officiating after losing Game 1. Somehow avoiding a fine (when it sounded like he was trying to execute the classic playoff maneuver of getting fined to draw attention to your grievances), Nurse doubled down before Game 2. In particular, Nurse was bothered by Embiid getting away with offensive fouls.
“We’ve got to have ‘em called or we don’t have a chance, period,” Nurse said. “Nobody can guard that guy if they’re just going to let him run you over time and time again.”
Nurse can keep working the refs, but he’s running out of time entering Game 3 Wednesday in Toronto. Teams that won the first two games of a best-of-seven series at home have won the series about 94% of the time.
Yes, Embiid sometimes exaggerates contact. But the biggest reason he’s drawing so many fouls: He’s hard to stop.
The Raptors were more physical with Embiid tonight, including OG Anunoby (who led Toronto with 26 points) initiating a pushing match with Embiid early:
Embiid also tweaked his ankle and arm in separate collisions. But he withstood all the bumps and bruises, looking no worse for the wear as he chastised Nurse.
The center had plenty of help, especially from Tyrese Maxey (23 points on 8-of-11 shooting, nine rebounds and eight assists) and Tobias Harris (20 points on 7-of-11 shooting, 10 rebounds). The 76ers even outscored Toronto by eight in the 11 minutes Embiid sat – a frequent trouble time for Philadelphia in the playoffs over the years.
Despite ceding a 20-2 run in the second half, the 76ers were up 29 when it started and maintained a double digit lead since the middle of the second quarter. Philadelphia has just completely dictated terms in this series.
Including to the opposing coach on how he should talk.