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76ers’ Joel Embiid Responds to Marcus Smart’s Criticism



Joel Embiid

Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid was a constant visitor to the free throw line on Wednesday night as the Sixers beat the Boston Celtics in a game that saw Embiid connect on 17 of his 21 free throw attempts.

Embiid’s constant trips to the free throw line where a source of frustration for Celtics’ guard Marcus Smart, who shared his pointed criticism on how the game was officiated.

“Can’t beat that,” Smart said, according to ESPN’s Tim Botemps. “Hard to win that way.”

Smart then took shots at Embiid, claiming he flails to draw calls.

“It’s tough,” Smart said. “It is tough. Especially when we’ve got our hands up a lot of the times, and he flails and gets the call, and then down on the other end we’ve got our guys attacking the rim, getting a lot of contact, and we’re just not getting the whistle. It’s tough to play like that. It’s tough.

“If the roles were reversed, I’d do it every time. I mean, I’d be on too if every time I threw my arms up or every time I got touched, I’m going to the free throw line. I mean, it’s kind of hard not to get into a rhythm that way when you shoot 21 free throws alone and they allow you to hack on the other end.

“It’s tough, but we battled. The team did a good job. We were right there to give ourselves a win and try to run it back again on Friday.”

Embiid was told of Smart’s comments and responded with the following:

“Marcus Smart just told me that I flail a lot?” Embiid said. “Come on. I’m sure he knows himself, and he knows his game, too, he does a lot of that. And I don’t think I do. I mean, if you watch basketball and if you’re a student of the game and if you actually pay attention during the game, we all see. Every single foul, I get fouled. They probably don’t call all of them, like the last one. There was three minutes left, I went up, and that was a foul and they knew it, but they didn’t call it. So there’s a lot that they don’t call, and there’s a lot that they call because you have to.

“The game is physical. Other teams tend to try to be extra physical against me. And I guess I’m just smarter than everybody else. I just take advantage of it. I just take advantage of how they’re guarding me. You can call that, I don’t know, basketball IQ, like if you’re going to put your hand up there, I’m gonna take advantage of it and I’m gonna get to the free throw line, because I know that I’m a great free throw shooter and that’s a better chance for me to help the team win in those situations.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said that his team needs to work harder to play without committing the number of fouls that plagued them in their loss against Philadelphia.

‘We’ve got to do our best to play without fouling,” Stevens said. “I’ll go back and look at each one, figure out what we can do better. He’s gonna score some, but 42 is too much. It’s gonna be hard to win a game when the best player on the other team scores 42 points.

“You have to go back to how can we be better. He not only scored those points, he also handled the double pretty well on a couple of occasions that led to three points. He had a huge impact on the game tonight, and he was terrific.”

Anthony DiMoro is the creator of Sports Rants and the CEO of Elite Rank Media. He is a former Contributor for Forbes and the Huffington Post where he covered sports, social media, and SEO. Anthony formerly hosted the 'Forbes SportsMoney Podcast'.