The Utah Jazz unraveled late and lost a tough one in overtime against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.
Their stars then spent their time with media after the game lashing out at the officials.
Donovan Mitchell was whistled for two technical fouls during the game’s final minutes and was ejected as the Jazz lost 131-123. After the game, the All-Star guard complained the Jazz got “screwed” by the referees, said the way Utah is officiated is “(expletive) ridiculous” and called on the NBA to address the situation.
“It’s tough to go out there and see how we fight and compete, and to have a game like that taken from us,” Mitchell said. “I’m never ever one to blame a ref, to blame an official — I can say I could have done more — but this is getting out of hand. … We’re nice. We don’t complain. We don’t get frustrated. We fight through things, and the fact that we just continually get screwed, in a way, by this.
“We won this game, in my personal opinion. But like I said, I’m going to give them credit. They won. Whatever. Cool. But it’s been a consistent thing. … And it’s getting (expletive) ridiculous that this is what’s happening.”
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Mitchell received his first technical with 57.5 seconds left in overtime after Sixers center Joel Embiid drew a foul on Rudy Gobert. Mitchell argued with an official, and Embiid playfully goaded Mitchell by making the “T” symbol with his hands as the technical was called.
Mitchell was hit with another technical and tossed on Utah’s next possession with 30.8 seconds left when he missed two shots and yelled at an official for a foul call. On his way off the court, an angry Mitchell knocked over a cooler that hit an arena security guard. (Mitchell appears to apologize to the security guard immediately.)
“This is something that just … it eats me. It eats at me, man,” Mitchell said. “It’s really, really, really getting out of hand. And the league needs to do something about this.”
Utah led 114-109 with 2:17 left in the fourth quarter but couldn’t put Philadelphia away. Embiid sent the game to overtime with a 3-pointer with 6.5 seconds left in regulation. The Sixers then took control in the extra frame.
Embiid finished with 40 points and 19 rebounds. He shot 10-of-13 on free throws as the Sixers went 27-of-35 from the line. Utah shot 14-of-19 on free throws and was whistled for 24 fouls. Philadelphia was called for 17.
The free throw disparity set off Gobert, who joined Mitchell in directing some profanity at the game officials.
“We’re not able to get some calls that everybody else in the (expletive) league gets,” Gobert said. “We know that we’re the Utah Jazz, and there may be some people that don’t want to see us go as far as I believe that we can go. It’s disappointing.
“We know that when you’re a small market … it’s a little harder. And that’s one of the things we’ve got to overcome. … But it’s very disappointing to be disrespected like that.”
Here are four more things to know today in the NBA:
Professional pest T.J. McConnell showed his reputation is well-earned with 10 steals in a rare points/assists/steals triple-double Wednesday night. McConnell, who had 16 points and 13 assists, is the sixth player in NBA history with a points/assists/steals triple-double, and his is the 11th triple-double in league history with 10+ steals. McConnell had an NBA-record nine steals in the first half and shot 8-of-8 from the field to help the Pacers overcome a 19-point deficit and defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 114-111.
Who ya got?
Captains LeBron James and Kevin Durant will draft their teams Thursday night for the upcoming All-Star Game. James has been a captain all four years the NBA has used the draft format. Durant will miss Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury, but he will still draft his team. Who will be the first pick?
Game of the night: Suns vs. Warriors
The upstart Phoenix Suns look to head into the All-Star break on a high note with their fourth consecutive win. They face a Golden State Warriors team Thursday looking for any separation in a tight Western Conference playoff race. The Suns have climbed to second place in the West, and the more wins they stack, the more confidence their young core builds for the second half of the season.
Matchup of the night: Zion vs. Bam
New Orleans Pelicans phenom Zion Williamson has taken the league by storm in his second season, averaging 25.6 points per game on 61.4% shooting. His combination of size and speed has made him a matchup nightmare for all but the very best defenders. Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo is one of the few players who can match Williamson’s athleticism, and he has the flexibility to mark Williamson anywhere on the court.
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