PHILADELPHIA–When defending the New Orleans Pelicans, there can be some frustration. Pelicans star Zion Williamson is one of the tougher players to defend in the league due to the fact that he is so bruising when he barrels toward the basket. It’s hard to defend him without fouling.
Williamson was even called out by Minnesota Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell recently for playing football instead of basketball. He’s just so tough to defend when he goes full steam toward the basket and the Philadelphia 76ers seemed to be frustrated by all the fouls being called.
Joel Embiid, James Harden, and PJ Tucker all picked up three fouls each at halftime and they were chipping at the officials a bit. After coming away with a 120-111 win over the Pelicans, they addressed their frustration with the officiating:
“That’s normal. I had three fouls, James had three fouls, PJ had three fouls, so being in foul trouble, that’s how they came back in the game in that first half. So it was frustrating, but I’m glad we did a better job.”
Harden on the officials
“It’s something we can’t control. We gotta figure out a way to play through it, keep our composure, everybody’s not perfect so we just find ways to keep pushing. Next play, next play, and if we so that overall through the course of the season, we’ll be a much better team.”
Coach Doc Rivers on defending Williamson through the officiating
“It’s tough. Listen, it’s like guarding a fast Shaq (O’Neal)…he’s tough. I look at half those calls and I think they’re—it depends on what side of the bench you’re on with him. He’s just a tough guy to guard.”
Rivers on what he tells his team about officiating
“There’s a lot of games I tell them, ‘let me complain’. I’ll do that a lot. I’ll take it to the edge. I did that in New Orleans. Sometimes it works, sometimes it still—but this is a game, I told them, let me try to do all the complaining. You guys do all the playing tonight. Young crew, so you knew it was gonna be a tough game.”