Saturday afternoon, the Sixers stepped into a hostile environment to face a Nets team that recognized falling behind 3-1 would be a death knell for their series chances. Philadelphia faced an early double-digit deficit, and then saw Jimmy Butler leave the court as part of a highly questionable double ejection with Jared Dudley (who is a “nobody” according to Joel Embiid, which isn’t cool like how Arya Stark was no one). Through all the adversity, though, the Sixers clamped down defensively late, holding Brooklyn to 17 fourth-quarter points, and late 3s by JJ Redick and Mike Scott gave the road club a 112-108 victory. Philadelphia can close out the series at home in Tuesday night’s Game 5. Let’s look at our Bell Ringer candidates:
Joel Embiid: 31 points, 16 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, 6 blocks, 5 turnovers
In a way, that mind-boggling stat line says it all. Here’s the list of players who have recorded at least 30 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 blocks in a playoff game:
But there was also a whole lot more to process (pun not intended) about Embiid’s dominant Game 4. Let’s start with the fact that he was doubtful to even play. Then, continue on by noting that he kept his cool when Jared Dudley ran 30 feet to push him from behind on what was a totally normal foul (if you even want to be that generous to the refs, there was A LOT of ball).
The Nets still have no answer for Embiid when he has the ball anywhere near the basket, but we knew that already. What we didn’t count on necessarily was Joel making a handful of terrific passes to open teammates in the opposite corner when the double teams were coming in the post. Defensively, the six blocks are incredibly impressive, but they don’t even account for the probably dozen other times when Nets players were hesitant to enter Joel’s vicinity. The Sixers need to handle their business in Game 5 and get this man some extra rest, because when he’s on the court, the sky’s the limit.
Tobias Harris: 24 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 0 turnovers
Unlike his six made 3s in Game 3, Tobi didn’t have the long ball working Saturday afternoon (0-of-4 from 3). However, he was still a very consistent second option for the Sixers offensively, shooting 10-of-20 from the floor and tying a playoff career-high with six assists. When things bogged down in the half court (a fairly frequent occurrence), it was often Harris working to create enough space for a short mid-range jumper, or absorbing the contact on a drive to the rim. After laying an egg in Game 1, Harris has scored 19 or more in each of the last three games.
Ben Simmons: 15 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal, 4 turnovers
With Embiid’s return to the lineup, Simmons definitely deferred more offensively than we saw in his 31-point Game 3 explosion. Still, he finished 7-of-12 from the field, and made some great plays to set up his teammates, none more important than his quick kick-out to JJ Redick for a late go-ahead 3. His main contribution came on the defensive end, however. Simmons took the lead in holding D’Angelo Russell to a 6-of-19 shooting afternoon, and Ben also poked the ball away and then ripped it out of Jarrett Allen’s hands on the final game-deciding Brooklyn possession. He’s definitely not average when the opposing team has the ball in the half court.
BEN SIMMONS STRIPS ALLEN AND THE SIXERS WIN!!!! pic.twitter.com/0mnwH2k2Lr— Drew Corrigan (@Dcorrigan50) April 20, 2019
Mike Scott: 8 points, 8 rebounds, 0 turnovers
I’ll let Mike Scott speak for himself:
Mike Scott on his game-winner: “I cashed out”— Michael Pina (@MichaelVPina) April 20, 2019
Who is your Game 4 Bell Ringer?
This poll is closed