Doc Rivers Stands Up for Joel Embiid
by FARUK IMAMOVIC | VIEW 1109
The Philadelphia 76ers' coach, Doc Rivers, gave an impassioned speech on Friday in defense of Joel Embiid's recent actions during a game against the Brooklyn Nets. Rivers expressed his concern about the growing trend of teams goading star players into retaliatory actions and the potential consequences for the league.
Retaliation vs Instigation
Rivers stated(via ESPN), "If we're going to start punishing the retaliators, and not the instigators, then we've got a problem in this league." He continued, "I've been a player, and this is a players' league, and I am 100 percent pro-player...
If I'm at a park, and I'm going to make this point, and you stood over me? We're going to have a problem." Rivers believes that there needs to be unwritten rules in the NBA, similar to those in hockey, to prevent instances of players standing over each other and goading retaliation.
Ejection of James Harden
Rivers was also critical of the recent ejection of James Harden, stating, "James' thing is a joke... To be thrown out? The problem I have with James being thrown out is there's three officials, and at least one to two guys in Secaucus [at the NBA's replay center in New Jersey], and that's what they came up with? I just can't understand that one."
Embiid's Kick: A Tough Call
Even though Rivers acknowledged that there was a potential case to be made for Embiid's ejection, he believes that the 76ers will have to better handle Brooklyn's physicality in the future.
Rivers said, "We have to be ready and handle that stuff better as a group... So it's a tough one for the league. I think they're in a tough spot."
Philadelphia's 3-0 Lead
Despite the controversy, Philadelphia has a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series and is in position to sweep Brooklyn out of the playoffs with another win in Game 4 on Saturday.
However, Rivers is keeping his focus on the present and stated, "We haven't accomplished anything... We've got to be ready to play. Nothing's going to be easy, and it's not going to be gifted to us."