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Sixers Bell Ringer: Game 68 - Sixers overcome themselves and beat Cleveland

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The Sixers prevailed in whatever is the opposite of a moral victory

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

For a refresher on what constitutes a Bell Ringer, please reference the initial post.

Bell Ringer Season Standings:

Joel Embiid - 22
Ben Simmons - 18
Jimmy Butler - 9
JJ Redick - 7
Tobias Harris - 3
Robert Covington - 1
Dario Saric - 1
T.J. McConnell - 1
Furkan Korkmaz - 1
Landry Shamet - 1
Corey Brewer - 1
Boban Marjanovic - 1
Mike Scott - 1

Having just claimed the 3-seed with a win over Indiana Sunday, the last thing the Sixers wanted to do was backslide with a disappointing loss at home to the lottery-bound Cavaliers. Early on, it looked like Philadelphia fans could breathe easy, as Cleveland scored just 12 points in the first quarter. However, 21 Sixers turnovers let the Cavaliers come back and then hang around all the way through a tense final minute of action. Ultimately, though, the Sixers prevailed for the 106-99 victory. Here are your Bell Ringer candidates:

Joel Embiid: 17 points, 19 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 4 blocks, 6 turnovers

For the majority of his second game back in the lineup, Embiid was incredibly sloppy. The timing between he and JJ Redick is totally over on DHOs, and Joel made a couple other careless giveaways as part of his six turnovers. However, all that consternation went out the window with Embiid’s absolutely transcendent final couple minutes.

After the Cavaliers had taken a 1-point lead with just inside of three minutes remaining, it was Embiid who found Mike Scott in the corner for the go-ahead 3. Then, with it a 1-point Sixers advantage with 50-plus seconds left, Embiid bullied his way through Jordan Clarkson to put up a shot, following his own miss with a hellacious putback slam that gave T.J. McConnell the vapors on the sideline. On Cleveland’s next possession, Embiid made an incredible play to recover defensively and block Ante Zizic’s shot at the rim. He then secured the rebound and hit both free throws to ice the game, as MVP chants rained down.

In the post-game press conference, Embiid was asked to assess his game and said, “I was trash.” Well, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Ben Simmons: 26 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers

Before Embiid’s late heroics, Simmons was the reason the Sixers were in a position to overcome their boatload of turnovers in the first place. Time and time again, Ben would notice he had a smaller Cleveland defender on him (frequently Brandon Knight, at times Jordan Clarkson or Collin Sexton), and simply bullrush his way down the lane for a forceful slam. I mention this a lot, but I absolutely love seeing Ben in the open court, recognizing someone like 6-foot-3 Brandon Knight is the only guy back, and knowing there’s no way he can stop him.

Additionally, his decision-making was on-point, as the 4:1 assist-to-turnover ratio would attest, and Simmons had another good game at the free throw line (making 6-of-8). Simmons had some trouble defending Sexton, but a shifty 6-foot-2 guard who shot well above his season average from the perimeter isn’t the ideal matchup for Ben, anyway. Terrific game overall.

James Ennis III: 12 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 3 turnovers

Filling in for Jimmy Butler in the starting lineup, Ennis couldn’t have done any more to help his cause in cementing a spot in the rotation. He shot 6-of-7 from the field was everywhere on the offensive glass. On multiple occasions, Ennis grabbed a miss and threw down a huge slam to fire up the crowd. After the game, Brett Brown praised Ennis’ energy and his defense, which was feisty, if a bit overaggressive (four fouls in 22 minutes). Sorry, Jonathon Simmons, there’s no doubt that Ennis has won the quiet tournament.

Boban Marjanovic: 11 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 2 turnovers

The Sixers had their second enormous human being make a return to the court in the last three days and it was great to see Boban out there again. Without any Cavs big man stretching the floor effectively (Ante Zizic is a non-factor on the perimeter, Channing Frye shot just 1-of-5 from 3), Boban was able to camp out as a towering presence in the lane. Offensively, he vacuumed up a pair of offensive rebounds, hit a short jumper in the lane over a defender, flashed some nifty passes, and of course, dunked on 3 Cavaliers at once.

Poll

Who is your Bell Ringer for the win over Cleveland?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Joel Embiid
    (137 votes)
  • 77%
    Ben Simmons
    (887 votes)
  • 6%
    James Ennis III
    (77 votes)
  • 0%
    JJ Redick
    (5 votes)
  • 3%
    Boban Marjanovic
    (45 votes)
1151 votes total Vote Now