The Utah Jazz sit atop the NBA with the best record. Although they are the lone team in the league with single-digit losses, Rudy Gobert says the Jazz don’t get any respect. Gobert made that perfectly clear with an after-game rant on officials after Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid went for 40 points and 19 rebounds and the Sixers topped the Jazz 131-123 in overtime Wednesday.
Rudy Gobert motivated Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid has a goal to become the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year. It’s an award that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert is favored to win this season. Gobert was also selected third-team All-NBA last season over Embiid. The two didn’t sit well with Embiid, who was motivated to face Gobert and the Jazz on Wednesday. Embiid scored 40 points and pulled down 19 rebounds in Philadelphia’s OT win.
“One of my goals is to also be Defensive Player of the Year,” Embiid said, according to ESPN. ‘So, you know, when you go up against those types of guys, (Gobert) is a great player, and you know, he does a lot for his team that don’t show up on the stat sheet … but when you go against those guys, you know, it brings something else to my game.”
Back in December, Embiid said there was no way Gobert should’ve been third-team All-NBA last year. He took offense and didn’t hide it. “I agree that Anthony Davis had a better season than me,” Embiid said. “(Nikola) Jokic? That’s debatable. But Rudy Gobert? No offense, but (he averaged) 15 (points) and 13 (rebounds) and I had my 23 and 12, and that’s kind of a big difference. I think my numbers were better. But people didn’t want to vote for me because our team didn’t do well.”
Gobert held in check as Jazz players blame officials
Joel Embiid used his motivation to help keep Rudy Gobert in check. Embiid held Gobert to 12 points and nine rebounds in 38 minutes. Gobert made four of 10 shots from the floor. Embiid made a statement with his 40-point, 19-rebound effort.
Jazz star Donovan Mitchell scored 33 points and had eight rebounds for the Jazz, who lost for just the ninth time this season. It was their second straight loss. Mitchell was ejected after getting slapped with two technical fouls in the final minute of overtime.
“I’m never ever one to blame the refs, but this is getting out of hand,” Mitchell said after the game, according to ESPN. “We continually get screwed. It’s getting ridiculous that this is what’s happening. I’m sick of it, we all are. It eats at me, man. It’s really, really, really getting out of hand. The league needs to do something about this.”
Gobert bashes the officials with expletive-filled rant
While Joel Embiid did a lot of talking after the game, Rudy Gobert did a lot of complaining. Gobert blasted the officiating and didn’t hold back. “We’re not able to get some calls that everybody else in the league f—ing gets,” Gobert said postgame, according to Jazz beat reporter Andy Larsen. “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.
“When my guys are getting fouled three times in a row, Mike Conley is going to the rim, they’re grabbing him right in front of the officials and there’s no call. I think it’s disrespectful to the game of basketball and to our team.” Gobert said he believed being a small-market team hurts the Jazz. He said because they are a small-market team, they need to be elite to get the calls and respect.
Gobert was blunt in saying the officials didn’t respect his team. “Two of those officials have a lot of experience,” he said. “I know these guys. I know all the names and I have a lot of respect for them. But tonight, they didn’t have respect for us. That can’t happen because we’re nice guys. Mike Conley has never had a technical in his life and they don’t f—ing respect him. Maybe he should get more technicals.”