The Philadelphia 76ers’ current road trip has two big themes to it so far: close wins and clutch moments from Joel Embiid. The Sixers have defeated the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers. After hitting a game-winning jumper against the Jazz, he closed out the Lakers with some defense that was clutch but initially looked like a foul.
On the final play of the Sixers’ win over the Lakers, Embiid guarded Russell Westbrook and contested his out-of-control take to the hoop. It looked for a second like he grabbed Westbrook’s arm, which should have resulted in a foul. However, an official review from the league ruled that the big man’s defense was within the rules.
In the NBA’s L2M report, Embiid’s play against Westbrook was ruled a correct non-call. The review showed that Embiid “slightly extends his arm before retracting it and marginal arm contact occurs with Westbrook (LAL) during the driving shot attempt.”
The NBA's Last 2 Minute Report from Lakers-Sixers says that Joel Embiid did NOT foul Russell Westbrook here on the final possession:pic.twitter.com/9gRNpShTOE
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) January 16, 2023
After the game, Westbrook said that his arm was grabbed but didn’t fret over that one play. Embiid said that the LA guard simply got unlucky. He and LeBron James both had stellar performances but ultimately couldn’t overcome the efforts of Embiid, James Harden and the Sixers.
The Sixers have started off their road trip in a stress-inducing yet successful fashion. Although they were matched up with weaker teams dealing with injuries, they were able to gut out victories. As they look through new lineups while Embiid and Harden shine together, this stretch of basketball is key for Philadelphia.