For a refresher on our Bell Ringer series, take a look back at our first post of the season.
Bell Ringer Standings
Ben Simmons - 7
Tobias Harris - 7
Joel Embiid - 6
Josh Richardson - 6
Matisse Thybulle - 3
Furkan Korkmaz - 1
Al Horford - 1
James Ennis - 1
Philadelphia had its first home game on Christmas Day since 1988, and based upon the way the Sixers came out and performed in a 121-109 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, I’m sure the rest of the NBA wishes it will be another 31 years before they host another. Facing the top seed in the Eastern Conference, the Sixers stormed out of the gates and played their most half of the season, leading by 21 points at halftime, an advantage they would eventually extend to 29.
Many a Sixer had a hot hand on the afternoon, as the team made 21 3-pointers (on 44 attempts), the most makes ever by a team on Christmas and tied for the most in a game in 76ers franchise history. In frustrating the reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to a 8-of-27 shooting performance, the Sixers showed they can contain the best the East has to offer. In fact, Philadelphia is now 6-2 against the other teams among the top-six in the Eastern Conference, the best such record within that group. I’m sure Philadelphia fans unwrapped plenty of wonderful presents this morning, but this Sixers performance might have been the best Christmas gift of all. Let’s choose a Bell Ringer!
Joel Embiid: 31 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 1 turnover
EMVPiid. With Giannis already having MVP hardware, and the frontrunner for the award again this season, Joel had no shortage of motivation to show he’s that same class of talent. Embiid had the primary assignment against Giannis, and was the biggest reason the Greek Freak connected on fewer than 30 percent of his shots. More often than not, Embiid perfectly held his ground on a driving Antetokounmpo, forcing the Bucks star into awkward angles and off-balance attempts. If not for a couple bogus foul calls, Joel could have had an even bigger game. I mean, seriously, what was this call?
Refs literally called this on Embiid pic.twitter.com/BGqv7IOkNh— Justin Lever ⚾️ (@JustinLever2) December 25, 2019
JoJo was also outstanding offensively, especially in the first half when he dropped 23 points. Embiid joined in the long-range assault, going 3-of-6 from 3. He also rose up for mid-range jumpers over whatever Lopez he found standing in his way. Of course, Embiid primarily makes a living near the rim, and made a sweet hook shot, in addition to a couple of fierce dunks off an offensive rebound and a Josh Richardson alley-oop. In a game featuring the guy who might take home back-to-back MVP awards, Joel was the clear-cut best player on the court. Happy Holidays!
Embiid standing his ground against Giannis pic.twitter.com/4rwXwP3INd— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) December 25, 2019
Ben Simmons: 15 points, 7 rebounds, 14 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers
You have to love these games when Simmons ratchets the intensity level up a notch. He recorded five stocks, savvily ripping the ball out of Giannis’ hands after a rebound, and making a great recovery around a screen to sway Khris Middleton from behind. Offensively, although he didn’t attempt a 3, Simmons played a big role in the Sixers’ big 3-point-shooting afternoon. Ben repeatedly flowed downhill to collapse the defense and kicked out to now-open teammates. His 31 assists across the last two games represent a mark only achieved by Mo Cheeks and Wilt Chamberlain in franchise history. The Bucks defense had to honor his drives because Simmons was willing to go all the way to the rim, finishing with short bank shots, sweeping hooks, and, of course, this absolutely sublime eurostep.
Ben Simmons in the open court >>> pic.twitter.com/o3I0IdOCxf— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) December 25, 2019
Tobias Harris: 22 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover
Harris went off for a season-high five 3s on seven attempts, but it wasn’t just hitting open spot-up looks from Tobias (although those are obviously very valuable). He worked Milwaukee’s defense inside the arc as well, flowing into a mid-range dribble pull-up, or backing his defender down in the post for a turnaround jumper. Tobi also made a JJ Redick special, coming off a dribble-handoff outside the arc and gathering himself in an instant for a 3. He finished his night by hitting a huge stepback 3 late in the fourth to halt a Bucks run, which was basically a class in Tough Shot-Making 101.
Tobias Harris says good night to Milwaukee pic.twitter.com/bFMK7s3jzE— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) December 25, 2019
Al Horford: 11 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 0 turnovers
The first test case for Horford against the Bucks went swimmingly. Everyone discussed Al’s potential impact when the Sixers first acquired him, but it was another thing to finally see Embiid take a seat and Philadelphia now having the guy who gave Giannis fits in the playoffs take over that difficult defensive assignment. In addition to his helpful work against the reigning MVP and solid defense overall, Horford hustled for a couple offensive rebounds and kept the ball humming around the perimeter. Al even softened the blow of going 0-of-5 from two-point range by making three of his seven 3-point attempts, including the dagger inside the final minute.
Furkan Korkmaz: 16 points, 2 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block, 0 turnovers
For the second straight game, Furkan was en fuego from behind the arc, shooting 4-of-5 from downtown. He connected on a trio of triples during a three-minute stretch late in the third quarter, also getting fouled by Giannis on the final make to get the Wells Fargo Center on its feet. Korkmaz continued to channel Matisse’s secret stuff for disruption in Thybulle’s absence, with three steals and a block, including a nice poke-away when Ersan Ilyasova tried to back him down in the post. I don’t know what everyone’s thoughts are regarding champagne on Christmas, but today was definitely a day to pop the Kork!
Furkan Korkmaz with one of the best shooting performances from deep this season (4-5 vs Milwaukee).— Dmitry Planidin (@DmitryPlanidin) December 25, 2019
An absolutely right decision for him to stay with the #Sixers instead of going for a fat contract in Europe.pic.twitter.com/9XRF9bEmvX
Who is the Christmas Day Bell Ringer in the win over the Bucks?
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