Al Horford Joel Embiid

Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports

Embiid whines about officiating after getting dominated by Al Horford late in Game 3 loss

John Tomase
May 06, 2018 - 1:39 pm

There are two ways to look at the stretch run of Celtics-Sixers Game 3 on Saturday.

One is that Al Horford dominated Joel Embiid on both ends of the floor.

The other is that Embiid can't possibly touch the ball without being fouled, so therefore the referees screwed up.

Guess which option Embiid chose?

Speaking in hushed tones after Philly choked on the premature confetti that blanketed the court in error at the end of regulation, Embiid lashed out at the officiating following Boston's 101-98 victory.

"(The Celtics) did a good job, but I don't see how it's possible for someone to guard me and have zero fouls, so I thought a couple of plays it wasn't fair," Embiid said in his postgame press conference.

Horford blocked Embiid cleanly twice late in the game in one-on-one situations, and Embiid clearly wore down as the game progressed, perhaps a result of regulated minutes during the season after suffering a series of injuries early in his career.

While Embiid did salute Horford's efforts -- which included the game-winning layup and game-clinching free throws in the final 5.5 seconds -- he also took issue with the officiating. Horford committed zero fouls in 42 minutes, while Embiid fouled out in overtime with 22 points and 19 rebounds, but on 10-of-26 shooting.

"You've got to give Al a lot of credit. He competed," Embiid said. "He made some plays for his team and he got them the win. But like I said, I'm too big -- I mean I guess it's the playoffs, it's my first time here, so I'm learning -- but I'm too big not to be fouled every time I go to the basket or every time I post up."

After averaging nearly eight free throws a game in the regular season and first round, Embiid has taken only 15 in three games vs. the Celtics.

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