On Sunday night, Sixers superstar Joel Embiid had a great game because he's one of the best basketball players in the NBA and the Cavaliers didn't have anyone who could stop him.
Apparently, this was a problem for Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff.
Embiid scored 44 points, 17 of which came from the free throw line. James Harden scored 21 points, 11 of which came from the free throw line.
Is that a lot of free throws? Sure! But Embiid and Harden are also two of the best, most skilled, smartest players in the NBA and the Cavaliers aren't exactly equipped with elite-level defenders capable of stopping them. So Cleveland was exposed, and the Sixers made them pay from the stripe.
Bickerstaff took umbrage with the Sixers' numerous free throws after the game, however, whining that the game was "taken" from the Cavs because of foul calls:
What an embarrassing quote.
You can watch his full comments here:
The game was not "taken" from the Cavs, who shot 32 of their own free throws. The game was won by the Sixers' best players in the biggest moments, including at the free throw line - which is part of basketball. You can't just discount a very important part of the game because you're getting crushed there.
I don't know how many times we have to explain this to people who seem to have lost their minds, but here we are again.
When one player, like Embiid, is so flagrantly better than any other player on the floor, and when you're defending a player of Embiid's caliber with Moses freakin' Brown, you're going to have some problems.
Embiid is both more talented and more intelligent than the people defending him, and he uses that combination to his advantage. If you don't want him to shoot free throws, don't foul him when he's shooting. And if you can't stop him without fouling him when he's shooting, you might be in for a rough night.
Embiid himself explained it during a podcast appearance last week:
"If we're in the penalty, you know what I'm about to do. You know what Chris Paul is about to do. We're just smarter than everybody else. That's the rules of the game, and we just take advantage of it. That's not my fault, that's not his fault, that's not anybody's fault.
"If I'm in the penalty, you should know what's coming. You should be studying the game, you should know me by now. You know that at some point, if we're in the penalty, I'm going to swipe through and I'm going to the free throw line. So keep your hands off of me."
That's it. That's how this works. Bickerstaff whining like this after a game is just silly, and him going on to say it's "no knock or disrespect on those guys" is kind of hollow.
But this is where we are: a head coach complaining about his own team not being able to pull away after the Sixers shot 30 percent in the first quarter and were generally awful for most of the night.