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.
Embiid is on the ground in pain after taking a hit to the face pic.twitter.com/qFiwOEPKts
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 11, 2022
There were two strong reactions to the play. One was from people praising Embiid for his toughness.
say what you want about Embiid but you can’t question his heart after goin out there with a broken face
— LakeShowYo (@LakeShowYo) May 11, 2022
Don’t ever want to hear ANYONE call Joel Embiid soft again. Ever.
— Brooklyn (@Brookie425) May 11, 2022
Embiid showing so much toughness and heart still even being in the game right now..it was clear that was incredibly painful. Fighter
— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) May 11, 2022
Mom text: “How in the world is Embiid playing after that hit????”
— Kate Scott (@katetscott) May 11, 2022
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.
How in the WORLD DID THEY MISS THAT? He hit him right in Embiid's face,
— Amy Fadool Kane (@amyfadoolNBCS) May 11, 2022
NBA officiating is so trash man like they gave Doc a technical for getting mad at them for missing a obvious foul call on Embiid
— ً (@FanMahome) May 11, 2022
The ref watches Embiid get punched in the face and just lets the Heat get a basket and then gives Rivers a T
— NBA Slime (@TerryFranconia) May 11, 2022
Embiid got smacked in the face, RIGHT in the face. Doc RIGHTFULLY got a T. Refs missed it. SO BAD!!!!! #SixersOutsiders
— Tyrone Johnson (@TyJohnsonNews) May 11, 2022
Ref: “that was clean no call”
Joel Embiid: pic.twitter.com/Z6SVE6IDyP
— Philly Nation (@Philly__Nation) May 11, 2022
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.