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Sixers Bell Ringer: Game 29 - Miami serves Sixers their first home loss of the season

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Ban zone defenses!

NBA: Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

For a refresher on our Bell Ringer series, take a look back at our first post of the season.

Bell Ringer Standings

Tobias Harris - 6
Ben Simmons - 6
Josh Richardson - 5
Joel Embiid - 5
Matisse Thybulle - 3
Furkan Korkmaz - 1
Al Horford - 1
James Ennis - 1

What started as boos from the Wells Fargo Center crowd for former Sixer, current villain Jimmy Butler, quickly turned to boos for everything the Sixers were doing out on the court Wednesday night. Miami’s 2-3 zone defense flabbergasted Philadelphia, while the Sixers were, in Tobias Harris’ words, like “zombies” defensively (and not the super-fast 28 Days Later kind). After the Heat had built a 16-point fourth quarter, the Sixers finally ramped up the intensity and figured out the zone, charging all the way back to within two points. An Al Horford 3-point attempt with 4.8 seconds left could have won the game, but it caught only iron and the Sixers fell, 108-104. Let’s choose a Bell Ringer for the Sixers anyway. After all, 14-1 at home isn’t too bad.

Tobias Harris: 20 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers

After a 17-point letdown in Brooklyn, it was another 20-point outing for Tobias, who has reached that threshold in eight of his last ten games. It wasn’t a hyper-efficient night from the field for Harris, shooting 7-of-16 from the floor, but his move on Jimmy Butler, getting him up in the air to cross him over and get an and-one on a floater, would have been immortalized by the anti-Jimmy crowd if this game had turned out differently. Harris then sank two huge 3s in the final three minutes of the game, including the knockdown shot from the corner with under 30 seconds left to make it a 2-point game.

Ben Simmons: 17 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 3 turnovers

Early in the game, the Sixers attacked the Ben Simmons-Jimmy Butler matchup down low, leading to the game’s first bucket for Ben, and some easy second-chance points for his teammates. As usual, Simmons did the majority of his scoring in semi-transition; he probed and sliced his way towards being the only starter to shoot 50 percent or better from the field (7-of-13, 53.8 percent). Now, would we like to see Ben attack mismatches more and go up for a strong dunk in lieu of some of the sweeping hooks away from the basket? Sure.

Defensively, he did a nice job on Jimmy; the Heat star was held to just 14 points, while committing four turnovers. Ben also made one of the biggest plays of the game, knocking Bam Adebayo’s in-bounds pass loose to Joel Embiid with 50 seconds and change remaining.

Joel Embiid: 22 points, 19 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 1 turnover

Embiid struggled to get engaged early, as the zone made it hard for his teammates to get him the ball against collapsing defenders. Plus, Bam Adebayo certainly got the best of him on multiple occasions. However, he worked hard on the glass, collecting a whopping eight offensive rebounds as part of his 19 total boards. He eventually cranked up the intensity late in the game, dropping 12 fourth-quarter points as the Sixers made their frantic comeback bid.

Sandwiched around a Ben Simmons steal, Joel had two buckets within four seconds of each other in the final minute, giving the Sixers renewed life by making it a 3-point game. Unfortunately, about 45 seconds earlier, Embiid made a bad decision, trying to force a lob underneath to Ben Simmons that was intercepted. But hey, at least that was his only turnover of the game — progress!

Josh Richardson: 17 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 block, 2 turnovers

It was a Dickensian tale of two halves for Josh Richardson. He had a brutal first half, scoring just two points on 1-of-7 shooting from the field, including 0-of-4 from 3. However, he then ditched the tape that had been wrapped around his sore wrist, and came alive for 15 second-half points on 5-of-10 shooting (3-of-6 from 3). Josh dropped 8 points in the fourth quarter, including two 3s in the final four minutes to help keep hope alive. I look forward to more wrap-less performances from J-Rich moving forward.

Matisse Thybulle: 5 points, 1 assist, 3 steals, 2 turnovers

It initially looked like it was going to be a big Matisse night, as the rookie immediately entered the game and knocked down a catch-and-shoot 3. Thybulle then forced a turnover that led to James Ennis lobbing the ball to Ben Simmons for the slam. His impact slowed from there, although Matisse did later intercept a Jimmy Butler pass and ran out for a fast-break dunk. However, I absolutely had to include Thybulle on this list because of one play in the fourth quarter: Matisse single-handedly guarded both Duncan Robinson and Bam Adebayo on the perimeter, eventually coming away with the steal. On a night many Sixers couldn’t guard one player, Thybulle was out there guarding two.

Poll

Who is the Bell Ringer for the loss to Miami?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    Tobias Harris
    (123 votes)
  • 44%
    Ben Simmons
    (224 votes)
  • 22%
    Joel Embiid
    (115 votes)
  • 0%
    Josh Richardson
    (4 votes)
  • 8%
    Matisse Thybulle
    (43 votes)
509 votes total Vote Now