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Sixers Bell Ringer: Game 82 - No running from the Bulls in regular season finale

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Bring on the Nets!

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Philadelphia 76ers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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

Bell Ringer Season Standings:

Joel Embiid - 27
Ben Simmons - 20
Jimmy Butler - 10
JJ Redick - 9
Tobias Harris - 4
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
Jonah Bolden - 1
Zhaire Smith - 1

With both teams sitting their regulars for the regular season finale (Philadelphia to rest up for the playoffs, Chicago for...reasons), the Sixers led by as many as 36 points and easily topped the Bulls, 125-109. They will next face the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs. But first, our final Bell Ringer of the regular season.

Zhaire Smith: 17 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 turnover

With the obvious caveat that it came against the bench players for the fourth-worst team in the league, Zhaire Smith put forth the finest performance I’ve seen from any of the Sixers’ reserve wings this season. In just his sixth career game, Smith showed off both the athleticism that had draftniks so intrigued about him coming out of Texas Tech, and some additional polish to his game.

The rookie dropped a career-high 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field and 2-of-5 from behind the arc. He drained a pull-up jumper at the foul line, spun into another fadeaway jumper, had a pair of dunks (one a putback off an offensive rebound and another a SOARING baseline slam), and showed off his quick-twitch muscles on a play where he rebounded his own miss and batted the ball into the basket.

Most critically as the team approaches a series against the Nets’ D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie, Zhaire showed off his defensive chops yet again. Time and again, he expertly navigated screens and stifled drives in isolation. Post-game, Brett Brown said Smith was elite defensively in terms of moving laterally with the ball-carrier. In his own post-game availability, Smith said he has not had any specific discussions with Brett about a role in the postseason, but if I were in Brown’s shoes, I’d have a talk with the rookie as soon as possible.

T.J. McConnell: 18 points, 2 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 block, 1 turnover

Early on, it looked like we might be able to say, “Remember when T.J. McConnell scored 30 points in a game?”, as McConnell easily dropped 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the first quarter. Though his efficiency never waned (T.J. finished the game 9-of-10 from the field), his status as a regular rotation player meant he only played 23 minutes and settled for 18 points. Which was a shame, because those 18 points only tied his career-high. Against a Chicago defense content to let McConnell get to the rim or take his usual diet of mid-range jumpers whenever he pleased, a couple more minutes would have allowed T.J. to finally reach the 20-point threshold in what very well might be his last regular season game with the Sixers.

Boban Marjanovic: 18 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks, 1 turnover

On Fan Appreciation Night, the Sixers certainly gave fans what they wanted: Boban 3-pointers! The big man went 2-of-3 from behind the arc, both from the corner, doubling his career total. He also finished with a career-high six assists, including one beautiful over-the-shoulder dump-off to Mike Scott under the basket.

Brett Brown admitted that the backup center role is still very much up in the air and dependent on matchups, saying if the opponent has a 7-foot-2 guy, they have an answer. With Brooklyn having gone small against the Sixers last game for long stretches with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson at the five, we may not see too much Boban for a while.

Jonathon Simmons: 20 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block, 2 turnovers

For the second straight game, Simmons looked more in control and hit his shots from behind the arc, draining three of his six triples against the Bulls. One of his treys resulted in a 4-point play out of a bunch formation, where the Sixers had three players standing around each other. But hey, it worked! The bulk of the evidence this season points to not wanting Simmons anywhere near the postseason rotation, but he was the first guy Brett Brown mentioned as to who he’s grown more confidence in for a postseason role. Asked if he was auditioning for postseason minutes, Simmons said, “Always. Always.”

Greg Monroe: 14 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 0 turnovers

Monroe continues to play reasonably well in his short Sixers career, finishing 5-of-10 from the field and even hitting his first-career 3-pointer! The man is auditioning for some NBA team to give him a contract next season, and proving he can extend his range would certainly be hugely beneficial to that end.

Poll

Who is your Bell Ringer for the regular season finale?

This poll is closed

  • 73%
    Zhaire Smith
    (681 votes)
  • 11%
    T.J. McConnell
    (103 votes)
  • 8%
    Boban Marjanovic
    (81 votes)
  • 5%
    Jonathon Simmons
    (50 votes)
  • 1%
    Greg Monroe
    (10 votes)
925 votes total Vote Now