Coming off a disappointing Game 1, and faced with the prospect of a potential 0-2 series deficit, the Sixers responded with their best performance in weeks, demolishing Brooklyn to the tune of a 145-123 final score. The 145 points were the most points for the Sixers in the franchise’s playoff history, as were the team’s 51 points in the third quarter. A 21-2 run to start the second half broke the game open, and Philadelphia never looked back. Before we move on to Brooklyn for Thursday night’s Game 3, let’s choose Monday night’s Bell Ringer.
Ben Simmons: 18 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers
What’s the best way to respond to your hometown fans (justifiably) booing you? How about a playoff triple-double. From the opening tip, this was Ben Simmons’ game. He dropped 7 points in the game’s first 5 minutes, aggressively getting to the rim, posting up, and attacking with a cutthroat mentality in transition. After one play in the first quarter, Ben, usually as stone-faced as they come, gestured emphatically to the crowd, receiving a thunderous roar in return from the Wells Fargo Center faithful.
Later in the third quarter, Simmons made a sensational play to poke a deflected ball up-court, then circle out-of-bounds, before reestablishing himself to go in for the fast break lay-up, putting the Sixers up 20 points. He then put his hand up to his ear, a la Allen Iverson. Asked what he was thinking in that moment, Simmons said, “I was thinking about the boos from last game.”
Defensively, Simmons was excellent in helping to limit D’Angelo Russell to 6-of-16 shooting and four turnovers against just two assists. When Ben checked out of the game for the final time, he received a standing ovation. That’s the “other side” of fan reactions here in Philadelphia, and Simmons more than earned it Monday night.
SWIPIN' SIMMONS.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) April 16, 2019
He swipes and goes all the way to the cup for a pair.
Simmons then gives the crowd his best A.I. lemme hear it impression. pic.twitter.com/PoK3o5n860
Joel Embiid: 23 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 turnovers
First, Embiid absolutely looked healthier than Saturday afternoon, which was a terrific sign. His mobility still seemed slightly restricted, but he got back to looking like a young man in his 20’s getting up and down the floor, rather than some elder statesman.
Embiid also seemed to adjust to his poor 0-of-5 outing from 3 in Game 1. Time and again, Brooklyn tried to bait Joel into taking wide-open outside shots, but he wasn’t having it. Instead, we saw his new strategy early in the first quarter, when he passed up a wide-open 3 at the top of the key, dribbled down into the post and then drew the foul. Embiid realized that he was essentially unstoppable down low, and focused his efforts there. He was the catalyst for the team’s huge second-half run, scoring 7 points on the opening three possessions of the third quarter, finishing with 13 points in the period.
The best Joel-related stat Monday night, though: 21 minutes played. Hopefully, Embiid is even fresher to wreck havoc on Thursday.
Boban Marjanovic: 16 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 1 turnover
Dirk Nowitzki may have paved the way for sweet-shooting Euro big men, but Boban Marjanovic is the latest evolution. Boban came out hot early, dropping eight points on 4-of-4 shooting in his first four minutes on the court. Sitting courtside, Dikembe Mutumbo and Allen Iverson were absolutely loving the Boban show.
With Brooklyn content to stay off him and grant him open looks whenever he wanted, Boban became the master of the mid-range. He was almost automatic from a couple steps past the foul line, and the building swell from fans urging Boban to shoot the ball the longer he held it, only for him to cede to their will and drain the shot, was such an inspiring communal experience.
THE BOBAN GAME.— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 16, 2019
The big man's got 8 points already pic.twitter.com/tk08iVALpp
JJ Redick: 17 points, 2 assists, 3 turnovers
Monday night was when the top-locked became the top-locker. Redick did a nice job defensively in preventing Joe Harris from getting the ball, holding the former Virginia Cavalier to just 4 points on 1-of-4 shooting. Oh yeah, and Redick reversed course from Game 1 and shot 7-of-12 from the field, including 4-of-5 for 9 points in the first quarter to help things get off to the right start.
Dimes.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) April 16, 2019
Simmons with the great find to get JJ a bucket as the Sixers start this one out aggressive. They lead, 14-8. pic.twitter.com/BLv1tLvJqy
Tobias Harris: 19 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 0 turnovers
At the start of this game, Harris still seemed mired in his shooting slump that had him colder than a White Walker. However, he finally broke out in that huge third quarter, going 3-of-4 from the field and 5-of-5 from the foul line for 12 points. Harris finished a team-best plus-31, helping secure his first career playoff win.
There are plenty of things to take away from Monday night’s big victory, but Tobi getting back to his All-Star-adjacent form from earlier in the season with the Clippers and when he first arrived in Philadelphia would be huge for the team’s prospects moving forward. Hopefully, Harris rediscovered his “offensive identity.”
Mike Scott: 15 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 0 turnovers
Switching from the red to the white samurai headband for Game 2, Scott was lethal in the third quarter, going a perfect 4-of-4 from the field for 10 points. He finished things off with a buzzer-beater to end the third quarter, putting a cap on the incredible 51-point frame. Scott mentioned after the game that Brett Brown had cussed the team out at halftime, saying, “We needed it.” Scott certainly responded to the motivation, not only hitting those shots, but grabbing a couple scrappy rebounds, and bringing that special Mike Scott energy that has endeared himself to the Philly faithful.
Jimmy Butler: 7 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 0 turnovers
Unlike his playoff-career-best scoring performance in Game 1, Butler took a backseat in the scoring department Monday night, because, well, everyone else was taking care of it. However, he did take over backup point guard duties, as T.J. McConnell was dropped from the regular rotation. What was the result? 7 assists against 0 turnovers. I’d say Point Jimmy is just as helpful a player as Jimmy Buckets.
Who is your Bell Ringer in the Game 2 victory?
This poll is closed