The Philadelphia 76ers have dominated the first two games of their first round series against the Toronto Raptors, following up Saturday’s 20-point win in Game 1 with a 15-point win in Game 2 (that was much more lopsided for most of the second half).
After a rather quiet first game — if 19 points and 15 rebounds can be categorized as quiet — Joel Embiid asserted himself much more in Game 2, scoring 31 points to lead the way in another win that saw all five starters hit double figures for Philly. As is often the case with Embiid, 12 of those points came from the free throw line (on 14 trips), and in total the Sixers took 30 attempts from the charity stripe. After Game 1, Raptors coach Nick Nurse was not pleased with the calls Philly was getting and some of the same frustration was apparent on the sidelines during Game 2.
As the final seconds wound down, TNT’s cameras lingered on a rather fascinating interaction between Embiid and Nurse, as they had a lengthy discussion in which Nurse seemed to be insisting the Raptors were defending him with verticality on some of the calls he was getting.
Joel Embiid and Nick Nurse had words for each other at the end of the game. pic.twitter.com/6JihHL5d9A
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 19, 2022
After the game, Embiid explained what that conversation was all about, confirming it was indeed about the officiating and offering the rather hilarious insight that he told him to “respectfully, stop bitching about calls.”
Joel Embiid explains what he told Nick Nurse at the end of Game 2 👀😅 pic.twitter.com/tUToBrJdlx
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) April 19, 2022
It’s an incredibly Joel Embiid comment, making sure to point out how much he respects Nurse as a coach before saying he should quit complaining. As the series shifts to Toronto, it remains to be seen if the Raptors can figure anything out to give the Sixers some problems, but the lack of size inside is never more noticeable than in a series against Embiid, and for the moment it’s hard to see where the answers lie for the conundrum the MVP candidate presents.