At the 4:12 mark of the fourth quarter in Cleveland on Wednesday, Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid was called for an offensive foul when it appeared he pushed Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley with his right elbow. The officials called the offensive foul and, at the moment, Embiid fouled out of the game.
At that point in time, the Sixers led 108-101, and it would have been tough for the Sixers to close it out without the big fella.
Instead, coach Doc Rivers challenged the call and it was overturned to a no-call. The shot that Embiid made counted and the Sixers went on to win it 118-109. The MVP candidate finished with 36 points and 18 rebounds with four blocks.
Afterward, Cavs coach JB Bickerstaff was disgusted with the officiating as he told reporters:
It was a helluva charge to get Embiid his sixth foul. He 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.
Official John Goble did defend the overturned call when talking to a pool reporter after the game.
“The contact by Embid was determined to be marginal as he did not go through the space of Mobley,” Goble told the reporter.
It does appear that the Sixers got away with one. When considering the time and score, they probably would have won the game anyway, but that does look like an offensive foul. Bickerstaff may have a legitimate gripe on his end.