Joel Embiid blames the refs, too, in loss to Celtics

Joel Embiid blames the refs, too, in loss to Celtics

The jocular, ever-quoteworthy Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid was in his element Tuesday night after the loss to the Celtics at the Wells Fargo Center. 

Embiid had his way with Boston's defenders in the 112-109 loss, putting up 23 points and 14 rebounds in 37 minutes. But so, too, did his opponent Al Horford, who came out red-hot in the first half and finished with 23 points, eight boards and five assists on the night. But in Embiid's mind, that wasn't anything special on Horford's part.

That's not all. He saved his best soundbite of the night for the officials, walking off his postgame press conference with his profane exclamation:

"Those refs f***ing sucked," he leaned into the microphone as he walked off the podium.

As ESPN Stats & Info pointed out, Philly is not 1-7 on the season against the three other top teams in the Eastern Conference, the Bucks, Raptors and Celtics, and the only teams with worse records are the lowly Bulls, Cavaliers and Hawks.

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Embiid on Horford's defense: "He's not doing anything, it's just on me"

Embiid on Horford's defense: "He's not doing anything, it's just on me"

PHILADELPHIA -- Joel Embiid is used to having his way most nights.

After all, big men with his level of athleticism, versatility, physical strength . . . that’s just what they do.

But as dominant as Embiid can be, Al Horford seems to make the big man work harder than he normally does when facing the Boston Celtics.

“Embiid’s a big guy. He’s tough,” said Boston’s Marcus Morris. “We’re just battling, we’re not double-teaming, we’re not doing anything. Al’s taking that head-on. He’s very important to us and down the line, he’s going to be big for us when we get to the playoffs too.”  

Horford’s defense on Embiid was among the many factors that led to what has become an all-too-predictable outcome between these two with the Celtics once again emerging victorious over the Sixers, 112-109.

Boston (36-21) has won all three games this year, and will take the season series for the fifth straight season with a 17-2 record in that span.

☘️ CELTICS 112, 76ERS 109

That dominance does not include Boston knocking Philly out of the playoffs last year in just five games.

On Tuesday, Embiid had a 23 points and 14 rebounds, but did so on 9-for-22 shooting which included 2-for-8 from 3-point range.

Meanwhile, Horford had a strong night as well with 23 points on 9-for-16 shooting to go with eight rebounds, five assists and four steals.

Boston goes into facing the Sixers knowing that Embiid is giong to get his numbers, but Horford’s defense consistently makes life a lot tougher on Embiid than most defenders.

For one thing, Horford spends most of the game defending Embiid with little to no help, a rarity in this league.

“Al’s a smart defender so he’s able to use spacing and angles and has a nose for when to gap him and when to get up on him plus he’s just a tough defneder,” said Boston’s Gordon Hayward. “Embiid is a monster. For Al to play like that’s encouraging. We’ve seen him do it in the past.”

However, Embiid doesn’t believe Horford’s defense is anything special.

“He’s not doing anything, it’s just on me,” Embiid said. “I was sleepwalking for three quarters and that’s on me. Like I said, that’s on me. It has nothing to do with anybody.”

Oh. OK.

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Under-manned Celtics man-up, snap two-game skid with win over Sixers

Under-manned Celtics man-up, snap two-game skid with win over Sixers

BOSTON -- Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 112-109 win over Philadelphia.

STARS

Al Horford: An early technical foul seemed to be the spark needed to light up Al Horford who immediately turned into “Angry” Al Horford, delivering one of his more dominant performances this season before finishing with 23 points, eight rebounds, five assists and four steals.

Gordon Hayward: One of the better games he has had against one of the better teams in the NBA, Gordon Hayward drained a trio of 3-pointers in the first half. He was even better in the second half, finishing with a game-high 26 points and tying a career-high with six 3-pointers total.

Joel Embiid: Always a handful, Joel Embiid would finish with a double-double of 23 points and 14 rebounds. 

STUDS

Marcus Morris Sr.: His scoring in the first half gave the Boston Celtics some much-needed juice which kept the Sixers crowd relatively quiet. He would finish with 17 points and eight rebounds.

Jimmy Butler: It was a solid night for Butler at both ends of the floor as he tallied 22 points along with nine rebounds. 

Jayson Tatum: This was a game when Jayson Tatum’s defense shined brighter than his usually solid play offensively. He had two steals and two blocks to go with 20 points and 10 rebounds. 

DUDS

Terry Rozier: This was not Terry Rozier’s night, at least when it came to scoring the ball. He did a solid job in terms of running the offense, but he missed six of his eight attempts while tallying just five points. 

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