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Sixers Bell Ringer: Game 76 - Embiid-less Sixers shoot the lights out in Minnesota

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Minnesota fans booed a former Wolf, Philadelphia fans cheered a former Sixer, and the Sixers secured the win.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Minnesota Timberwolves Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

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

Bell Ringer Season Standings:

Joel Embiid - 25
Ben Simmons - 20
Jimmy Butler - 10
JJ Redick - 8
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
Shake Milton - 1

Joel Embiid is sitting out the entirety of Philadelphia’s current three-game road trip, but it didn’t bother the Sixers Saturday night in Minnesota. Boosted by eight 3s in the first quarter for the second straight game (and finishing 15-of-31 for the game), the Sixers never trailed after the 8:23 mark of the opening frame in a 118-109 victory over the Timberwolves. In other NBA action, both the Celtics and Pacers lost, further solidifying Philadelphia’s hold on the third seed in the Eastern Conference. Here are your Bell Ringer candidates:

Jonah Bolden: 19 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 3 blocks, 1 turnover

It sure is nice to rest your All-NBA center and have a guy who had completely fallen out of the rotation do a reasonable facsimile of one. Bolden exploded for a career-high 19 points, shooting 5-of-7 from behind the arc (and nearly having a sixth if not for a split-second shot clock violation). One of those triples was a dagger 3 from the corner with two minutes left in the game.

Bolden also threw down a huge putback slam in the first quarter, and did a good job overall on Karl-Anthony Towns, helping to hold him below his average at 21 points. While defending with five fouls in the closing minutes, Bolden had a great block of Towns that resulted in a jump ball. This three-game stretch without Embiid is Bolden’s chance to make a final argument for entering the playoff rotation. He couldn’t have acquitted himself better in this first test.

Ben Simmons: 20 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 5 turnovers

Though he wasn’t involved in the 3-point onslaught, Simmons did get involved in the first quarter with 6 points on 3-of-3 shooting. As the game progressed, he continued to get to the bucket relatively unimpeded, finishing 8-of-11 from the field (with one of the misses being an end-of-quarter hoist from 3 where it actually looked like he was fouled).

A couple of the late turnovers were poor decisions, but I liked how he kept playing hard through them. After one giveaway, Simmons immediately pressured the ball handler and got a hand on a pass to return the ball to the Sixers. Ben was great defensively, sliding up and down the Minnesota roster to guard everyone from Towns to Andrew Wiggins; he had a terrific block in the fourth quarter of the highly paid Wolves wing.

Scoring the ball efficiently, just missing a triple-double, strong effort on the defensive end of the court — with the big man out, these were the things the Sixers needed to receive from the other franchise cornerstone, and Simmons delivered.

Tobias Harris: 25 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 0 turnovers

After his lowest point total as a Sixer Thursday night (6 points), it was good to see Tobias get back into the swing of things with a strong offensive outing in Minneapolis. The Wolves represented a great matchup for the versatile forward. Bless his heart, but Dario Saric is not quick enough to stay with Tobias off the dribble, and Harris has enough size and strength to overpower smaller wings on the interior. Tobi wasn’t even afraid to go in full bore and challenge Towns at the rim.

He knocked down two triples in the first quarter, finishing 3-of-8 from downtown, and made a handful of smart off-ball cuts. Everybody can calm down now after a few quiet games from Tobias Harris; he is still a tremendous fit for this Sixers roster.

Jimmy Butler: 12 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers

Jimmy Butler wanted nothing more than to show out in a big way in his first game back to Minnesota. Naturally, then, he hurt his back on an alley-oop attempt a few minutes into the game. He came back in — of course, I think you would have needed a tranquilizer gun to keep Jimmy off the court Saturday night — but we’ll never know if his 4-of-17 shooting night was a byproduct of that early back tweak.

Nevertheless, despite the shooting woes (and I could have done without some of the long twos), he was still a beneficial player out there for the Sixers. Butler was a monster on the glass, crashing the boards for seven offensive rebounds — about as obvious a show of “I’m giving this everything I’ve got” as I’ve ever seen. He also dished out some pinpoint passes, including one to a cutting Harris under the basket. It may not have been a dominant scrimmage with third-stringers in front of a mostly empty gym, but I’m sure Butler was pleased to answer the boos from the Minnesota fans with a Sixers victory.

Poll

Who is your Bell Ringer in the win over Minnesota?

This poll is closed

  • 78%
    Jonah Bolden
    (1394 votes)
  • 14%
    Ben Simmons
    (264 votes)
  • 5%
    Tobias Harris
    (90 votes)
  • 1%
    Jimmy Butler
    (30 votes)
1778 votes total Vote Now