Cleveland Cavaliers head coach JB Bickerstaff still paid his respects to Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and guard James Harden after a 118-109 win by the Sixers in Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. The game saw the pair shoot a combined 22 free throws and an overturned charge call in favor of Embiid.
“Not taking anything away from those guys,” JB Bickerstaff said in a postgame press conference. “They’re phenomenal basketball players and they know how to play within the rules. I was with (James Harden) for four years in Houston, and he’s a master at manipulating the rules, and (Joel Embiid) does the same.
“So you have to be extremely disciplined, but even then they find a way to create that contact and draw a foul.”
Cavs forward Evan Mobley drew a charge from Embiid as the 7-foot Sixers center crossed over to his left side in an attempt to drive into the paint. Joel Embiid bumped Mobley on the drive, who fell onto the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse floor as Embiid pulled up for a mid-range shot. It would have been Embiid’s sixth foul of the game, a crucial call as the Cavs tried to fight their way back from a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter after guard Donovan Mitchell made a driving dunk the minute before.
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“Hell of a charge,” JB Bickerstaff said. “To get (Joel 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.”