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76ers to file grievance with league over officiating in first two games vs. Knicks

76ers squandered 'heroic' performance from Embiid
Dan Patrick details how the little things came back to haunt Philadelphia in Game 2 against New York after blowing a late fourth-quarter lead and now facing an 0-2 hole in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

After a devastating last-second loss to the New York Knicks that puts the 76ers down 0-2 in their first-round series, Philadelphia will complain to a higher power.

The 76ers are going to file a grievance with the NBA league office about the officiating through the first two games. This is not a protest trying to overturn the outcomes — those require a misapplication of the rules and never get granted anyway — but rather their view of officiating that had hits hands on the scale in close and intense games. ESPN’s Tim Bontemps broke the story of the grievance. It will be filled with video clips from the games where the 76ers believe they were wronged by calls.

The 76ers’ complaints from Game 2 were focused on an attempt to inbound the ball with 27 seconds remaining and the team still up two (after Jalen Brunson’s 3-pointer).

The complaints are that Brunson held Tyrese Maxey’s jersey and didn’t let him run freely to the ball and that coach Nick Nurse said he was trying to call a timeout before Maxey lost control of the ball.

“The first thing is they score,” Nurse said, via Noah Levick at NBC Sports Philadelphia. “We take a look at getting it in quick. We don’t get it in quick. I call timeout. The referee looked right at me, ignored me. (The ball) went into Tyrese. I called timeout again. Then the melee started.

“I guess I’ve got to run out onto the floor or do something to make sure I get his attention. I needed a timeout there to advance it. Would’ve been good, but I didn’t get it.”

Joel Embiid was more succinct.

“That’s on the league, that’s on the NBA, that’s on the freaking referees,” Embiid said. “I hate to put the game on them, but I’m sure the (last) two-minute report is going to come out and we’re going to see what happened. Like I said, that’s unacceptable. … We fought for 47 minutes and 20 seconds. For that to happen … that’s not OK.”

The Last Two Minute report on this game will be “War and Peace” length long, but it also does not change the outcome of the first two games.

What Philly has done is a more formal tactic of a long-standing NBA tradition—a coach loudly complains about the officiating, hoping to, at least subconsciously, get in the referees’ heads for Game 3. Those next two games will also be at the Wells Fargo Center, where the 76ers hope for a little bit of home cooking when it comes to close calls.

Philadelphia must win those next two games at home. If they return to New York down 3-1, this series is over.