What’s already been a physically brutal postseason got worse for Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid during Game 5 of Philadelphia’s second-round series with the Miami Heat.

Embiid, who suffered a thumb injury in the first round and missed Games 1 and 2 of the Heat series with a concussion and orbital fracture, took another hard shot to his face. While going for a rebound in the second quarter, got a hand in the face from Miami’s Dewayne Dedmon.

There were two strong reactions to the play. One was from people praising Embiid for his toughness.

But that wasn’t the only feeling expressed by the fans. The contact to Embiid went uncalled. In fact, the only foul that was called in the sequence was on 76ers coach Doc Rivers, who earned a technical foul after arguing on his star player’s behalf.

NBA officials have been a target of outrage in the postseason, as they often are. This situation was no different.

The NBA referees have a long reputation for going overboard to protect the star players. Embiid certainly qualifies. He controversially did not win the MVP but is one of the best players in the world and was on everyone’s shortlist for the award.

Given that, as well as his injuries coming into the game, the natural tendency would be for the referees to officiate contact on him even tighter. But that was not the case in this incident.

About Michael Dixon

Michael has a background in sports writing both online (Bleacher Report, Sportsnaut, Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks) and in print (Sedona Red Rock News, Brentwood Press). Sports have been a lifeline passion for Michael and he continues to enjoy writing and talking about them.