On Wednesday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers found themselves in a tight contest against Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers. Embiid is a difficult enough matchup as it is, but without Jarrett Allen, the onus fell on Evan Mobley to try and slow down one of the best offensive players in the NBA. While that is as close as it gets to an impossible task, the Cavs youngster appeared to have done enough late in the fourth quarter, especially when he drew a charge on Embiid that would have been the Sixers star’s sixth foul.
In fact, that play was a testament to Mobley’s stifling defense; with Embiid isolated at the high post area, the Cavs big man matched him stride for stride. Embiid then used his shoulder to barge into Mobley, with the 21-year old taking the hit squarely to his chest as he’s flung a good few feet towards the rim.
However, the officials ended up overturning the call after a Sixers challenge; as a result, Joel Embiid’s shot counted, as a result, extending their lead over the Cavs to nine as a result.
Tonight's Crew Chief John Goble after the game on Joel Embiid's sixth foul being overturned after a video review: "The contact by Embiid was determined to be marginal as he did not go through the space of Mobley." pic.twitter.com/6zwOt7y8eW
— Danny Cunningham (@RealDCunningham) March 16, 2023
After the game, which ended up being a 118-109 defeat for the Cavs, head coach JB Bickerstaff couldn’t help but rue the fact that what would have been a stellar defensive play from Evan Mobley ended up being for naught, especially at such a crucial juncture in the game.
“Hell of a charge. To get Embiid his sixth foul? He did a hell of a job. It’s clear as day — that’s a charge. There’s no doubt about it. The call was made on the floor. He stands in between him and the basket. He lowered the shoulder. I thought Evan competed, laid it all out on the line. Guys ought to be rewarded for that. If you’re willing to stick your nose in there, sacrifice your body, you ought to be rewarded for the correct play,” Bickerstaff said, per Hayden Grove of Cleveland.com.
J.B. Bickerstaff says that Evan Mobley drew a charge “as clear as day” on Joel Embiid. #Cavspic.twitter.com/BMEhO7tAfl
— Hayden Grove (@H_Grove) March 16, 2023
Had Joel Embiid fouled out of the game, the Cavs surely would have had a better chance to win the game. After all, Embiid finished with 36 points, 18 rebounds, and four blocks — yet another MVP-esque performance. Alas, all the Cavs could do now is to regain their bearings and prepare for their next contest against the Washington Wizards on Friday night.