Despite appearing on the verge of stealing home-court advantage, Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers lost Game 2 to the New York Knicks, in large part due to a controversially wild series of events that saw the Knicks hit back-to-back threes to take the lead with 13 seconds remaining. After the game, the Sixers organization and Embiid himself publicly complained about the officiating in the final minute, which sparked a reaction from former 76ers great and NBA TV analyst Charles Barkley.

Following the 76ers' 104-101 loss, the organization reportedly decided to file a grievance with the league over the officiating of Game 2, particularly in regards to no foul being called as the teams scrambled for the ball and Nick Nurse not being awarded a timeout before the Knicks regained possession of the ball and took the lead with 13.1 seconds remaining on a Donte DiVincenzo three-pointer.

In his post-game scrum, Embiid said the officials not calling a foul or recognizing Nurse's timeout attempt was “f*cking unacceptable.”

“Everybody on the floor was trying to call a timeout, myself included, Nico[las Batum], coach on the sidelines; but they didn't give it to us. But, you know, forget about a timeout. There’s a bunch of fouls. Like I said, that’s f*cking unacceptable,” Embiid said.

Charles Barkley calls out Joel Embiid about being a leader

Philadelphia 76ers player Joel Embiid and an NBA official

While Joel Embiid spoke about the officiating in Game 2, he sat in his locker with his head down and his hand seemingly shielding his eyes. This body language led to a reaction from Charles Barkley on the TNT post-game show.

“What I'd like to see from Joel, he's gotta get his head up, because he's the leader of the team. He's the best player. He's one of the best players in the world. If your best player got his head down like that, he can say, ‘It's unacceptable, it's unacceptable, we just got to come up and win Game 3. We gotta take it one game at a time.' As the leader of the team, he cannot have his head down. He's got to say, ‘Guys, we're fine. They did what they were supposed to. We got to go home and win Game 3 and 4.'”

Barkley's criticism of Embiid's post-game body language may not be entirely deserved, though, as it has been speculated that Embiid is playing this series through an eye issue, such as a scratched cornea, which can cause light sensitivity, pain, irritation, and blurred vision. During this series, including when Embiid went down clutching his left knee following a self-alley-oop in Game 1 against the Knicks, fans have noticed Embiid is not regularly blinking his left eye.

Whatever the issue may be, the 76ers will continue to rely on Embiid as the series shifts to Philadelphia for the next two games. Trailing 2-0, the Sixers need to win at least one of the two home games to force the series back to New York for Game 5.

The optimistic view of the series, despite the deficit, is that the Sixers have been competitive and led late in both of the first two games. In Game 1, Philadelphia took a three-point lead into the fourth quarter after a stellar third period before it all fell apart in the fourth. And in Game 2, the 76ers led 101-96 with under 30 seconds to go before a Jalen Brunson three to pull within two and the turnover that led to Donte DiVincenzo's go-ahead triple.

Game 3 between the 76ers and Knicks will tip off at approximately 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 25.