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Doc Rivers questions officials after no calls made against Nets in fourth quarter of Brooklyn’s win against reeling 76ers

NEW YORK — With his Philadelphia 76ers trailing by nine points to the Brooklyn Nets and three seconds left in the fourth quarter Thursday night at Barclays Center, coach Doc Rivers called timeout.

His goal, however, wasn’t to try to draw up a play. Instead, it was to deliver a message to the officials.

So he walked out to center court, stared at the three game officials and held up a "0" — the number of team fouls called on the Nets in the fourth quarter of what became a 114-105 Philly loss, it third in four days, all to teams missing star players.

"They needed to see that," he said.

Rivers gave the same message to the officials after the buzzer sounded. His biggest issue? Joel Embiid should’ve gotten more calls down the stretch.

"I thought Joel got fouled the last three post possessions, and-ones, and none was called," said Rivers, whose team is now 15-15 after an 8-2 start. "I don’t know how a team can play the fourth quarter of a game where we’re driving the ball and posting the ball and they have zero fouls. It’s hard to play a quarter in the NBA and commit no fouls. Very surprised by that."

Embiid, who had a game-high 11 free throw attempts but none in the fourth quarter, agreed.

"I mean, they’re the home team," said the All-Star big man, who had team bests in points (32), rebounds (9) and assists (6). "I thought we got fouled a few times, especially down there. But, I mean, it’s frustrating when they’re calling fouls for the other teams down there and you don’t get any. I can see what he (Rivers) was talking about."

After getting blown out Monday in Memphis with Embiid sitting out with abdominal soreness, Philadelphia has now lost games on back-to-back nights to opponents in Miami and Brooklyn that were missing key pieces due to injury or COVID protocols.

Those losses added up to a missed opportunity in Embiid’s eyes.

"It’s extremely frustrating to lose," he said. "I hate losing. It sucks. We’ve just got to do a better job of basically not spotting the other team by 20 points every first quarter. I mean, we played pretty well after that. We just got to do a better job of starting the game out."

While Philadelphia did make a strong push to recover from an early deficit, it wasn’t enough thanks to another brilliant performance from Kevin Durant , who finished with 34 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in 39 minutes. Durant hit two huge shots late in the fourth quarter after Philadelphia twice tied the game down the stretch.

"That’s what he does on a nightly basis," Seth Curry (29 points) said of Durant. "We played good defense. We did a good job … couple at the end of the game he walked into, but we did a good job for the most part."Philadelphia hasn’t recovered from Embiid testing positive for COVID-19 last month, as it lost both he and Tobias Harris at the […]

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Australian Open organizers confirm medical exemption process

(Reuters) Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said players applying for a medical exemption to participate in the grand slam without being vaccinated against Covid-19 will have their case reviewed by an independent three-person panel.

Tennis Australia said the panel would consist of doctors from the fields of immunology, infectious disease and general practice and that the move had been agreed in conjunction with the Victoria Department of Health.

Tiley had previously said all players must be inoculated against Covid-19, with the move throwing the involvement of defending champion Novak Djokovic into doubt as the world number one has yet to disclose his vaccination status.

"We’ve worked closely with the Victorian government to establish fair and independent protocols for assessing medical exemption applications that will enable us to ensure Australian Open 2022 is safe and enjoyable for everybody," Tiley said. Emma Raducanu tests positive for COVID-19, out of exhibition event in Abu Dhabi "Central to this process is that the decisions will be made by independent medical experts and that every applicant gets due consideration."

The Melbourne Park tournament, the first grand slam of the year, is due to begin on January 17.

Applicants that pass an initial stage will be subject to a second review conducted by a government-appointed panel of medical experts before the application is submitted to the Australian Immunisation Register.

Martin Pakula, Victoria state’s sports minister, said the process could set a precedent for other big events.

"We are happy there is some rigour around the process, we think it leads to the best possible outcomes," he added.

"They want the safest possible event for players and fans. That involves having the most rigorous medical exemption process."