The Philadelphia 76ers managed to stave off their fellow Eastern Conference playoff contenders, the Cleveland Cavaliers, on March 15. One could argue that it all came down to when Sixers star Joel Embiid drew his sixth personal with four minutes and 12 seconds to go before the call was reversed upon being challenged by Doc Rivers.
Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff went on a furious rant during his postgame press conference, disagreeing with the referees’ decision to reverse the call, believing the original ruling on the floor was correct.
“It was a hell of a charge to get Embiid his sixth foul,” Bickerstaff said. “(Evan Mobley) did a helluva 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 and laid it all out on the line. Guys oughta be rewarded for that. You know what I mean? Like if you’re willing to stick your nose in there, sacrifice your body, you oughta be rewarded for the correct play.”
The Sixers’ win puts them at 46-22 and winners of six straight and only one game behind the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference standings.
Joel Embiid Agrees With Call Reversal
During his postgame interview, Embiid gave his thoughts on the critical call being reversed that otherwise would have kicked him out of the game.
“I knew it wasn’t an offensive foul,” Embiid said. “I never extended (my arm) and on the play, you could tell that’s something he wanted to do, and that was a flop. That’s why I got the benefit of the doubt. If you would have a hit, maybe that could have been a charge, but you could tell right before he felt the hit, he was already falling, and I never extended. The refs, they’re humans. They know what they’re doing. That’s their job, so, you gotta trust them.”
When the call in question came about, the Sixers were up 108-101, so there’s no telling if the Cavaliers would have made up the difference in the little time they had left in the game to do so.
Donovan Mitchell Disagrees With Reversed Call
Like Bickerstaff, Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell too agreed that the call on the floor should not have been reversed, but also said that the Cavaliers should have won the game regardless.
During his postgame press conference, Mitchell openly disagreed with the call reversal but also said that the Cavaliers blew their chances to win the game.
“It is what it is. We should have won the game. We were up 14 and gave up the lead. That’s on us. We shouldn’t have to rely on hoping that (Mobley) gets the offensive foul. Was it a foul? We think so, but it wasn’t, and we should have won the game. It was in our hands and we didn’t capitalize and that’s on us,” Mitchell said.
With the victory, the Sixers have clinched their season series against the Cavaliers, 2-1.