Joel Embiid and James Harden are a duo that is very scary for the rest of the league. The two combining in Philadelphia has made the team instant contenders for the NBA title although it's far from a sure thing. And while there is a lot to admire about both players and the way they fit together, one issue seems to be getting on the nerves of everyone else in the NBA.
Both Embiid and Harden get free throws at a prolific rate. Harden is averaging 9.6 attempts a game this season while Embiid is at 10.7. While their skills mean that they are fouled quite often, there can be no denying that both players get favorable whistles from the referees as well. And Embiid has admitted that he knows how to get those calls, claiming that it just means he's smarter than his opposition.
Cavaliers Head Coach J.B. Bickerstaff is the latest person to have gotten annoyed with the number of times they go to the foul line, addressing the situation after his team lost to the Sixers on Sunday night. The Sixers won by 4 and between Embiid and Harden, the duo shot 32 free throws.
"We deserved to win that game. That game was taken from us. We deserved to win it... You can't defend the free-throw line. That's absurd."
In totality, the Sixers went to the stripe 11 times more than the Cavs during the game, and the disparity is quite evident in a lot of their other games as well. And while it's a blessing for the Sixers at this time, it might quickly become a problem in the playoffs, when refs are famously more stingy with foul calls. Embiid and Harden will beat many teams based on their talents alone and while the free throws can get frustrating, teams have to find a way around it if they want to win.