Friday's Game 6 matchup between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Atlanta Hawks wasn't a pretty one. That's especially true for the Sixers, who got themselves into foul trouble in the first quarter of the game.
Sixers veteran forward Tobias Harris played just four minutes in the first quarter as he picked up two fouls. His teammate Ben Simmons found himself in the same situation roughly about a minute later as he collected his second foul as well.
By the end of the first half, the Sixers had nine fouls, one more than Atlanta. Then, in a critical third quarter, the Sixers picked up six more fouls, which was five more than the Hawks. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, three of Philly's starting five had at least three fouls on them heading into the final stretch.
Luckily for the Sixers, nobody ended up fouling out on Friday night. And although the 76ers ended the game with just two more fouls than the Hawks, Embiid expressed his displeasure with the game officials from Friday's Game 6 matchup over Atlanta.
"I told [the referees] they had to call it both ways," Embiid explained after the game. "We had a bunch of guys; whether it’s Ben or Tobias, in foul trouble, I just felt like he wasn’t calling it both ways. Especially because of the minimal contact that they get on their point guard. And when it comes to us, we don’t get the same thing. I just want it called both ways. If you’re gonna call like nothing on their point guard, it should be the same way [for us]."
The "point guard" Embiid is referring to is Atlanta's superstar sharpshooter, Trae Young. While Young has become infamous for his crafty style of play, which allows him to draw fouls at a high rate and certainly frustrates the competition, other players who've been on the positive end of those calls applaud Young for his trickery.
Embiid is no exception. Earlier in the series, the seven-footer praised Young for his "basketball IQ." But when the calls were working for Young and not Embiid on Friday night, the veteran big man wasn't pleased.
"I was hacked all night, and I don’t think I got to the free-throw line until I got to the fourth quarter and all that stuff," Embiid said. "So, it was questionable, but you know we got the win, and that’s all that matters.”
It was a close battle between the Sixers and the Hawks, and the foul trouble on Philly's end did make it a lot tougher for them to come out on top. But, regardless of the questionable calls and no-calls, the Sixers managed to snag a must-win game on the road. Now, it's do-or-die for both teams on Sunday.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.