Doc Rivers calls out Game 6 refs, 'disappointed' in apparent edge for Celtics

Doc Rivers claims refs gave Celtics unfair edge over Sixers in Game 6 originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

BOSTON -- Doc Rivers is pulling out all the stops ahead of Game 7.

Just two hours before tipoff of Sunday's winner-take-all clash between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers at TD Garden, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski publicized a Game 6 officiating report that found that 13 referee "errors" went against the Sixers, while only four such errors hurt the Celtics in their 95-86 road victory.

Rivers was asked about that officiating report Sunday before Game 7 and launched into a pointed criticism of the officiating in Thursday's game.

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"It was disappointing to see, honestly," Rivers told reporters. "A 13-4 disparity in a one-point, two-point game, it's hard to recover from. It really is. When you saw the report, which we read, and then saw the calls that were missed ... that's hard to recover from. It really is.

"Having said that, it's a human game, and you have to just try to play through it. Usually the disparities are never that great."

While some of those missed calls may have hurt Philly, it's also "hard to recover" from a six-minute scoring drought: The Sixers didn't make a single field goal in the final six minutes of play Thursday aside from a Jaden Springer jumper with the game already in hand for Boston. On the other end, Philly failed to contain Jayson Tatum, who shook off a horrendous start to outscore the Sixers by himself in the fourth quarter (16-13).

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But Rivers suggested his team could have won easily had it gotten a few more calls and made a few more shots.

"We missed more open shots. I think analytically, we won the game by 20 or whatever," Rivers added. "No comment."

Rivers criticism of the refs seems like obvious gamesmanship to buy his team a few more extra calls on the road in a do-or-die Game 7. Philly general benefits from slower-paced games with plenty of foul calls, as superstars Joel Embiid and James Harden both make their living at the free throw line.

Here's hoping the referees aren't swayed by the events of Game 6 and don't decide Game 7 either way. Tip-off for Game 7 is set for 3:30 p.m. ET at TD Garden.