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Sixers Bell Ringer: Game 79 - Philadelphia falls to Milwaukee for third straight loss

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The Sixers did not emerge victorious from the Battle of the Unicorns

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks 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 - 25
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

The Sixers returned home after a pair of dismal losses to lottery-bound opponents, and looked like they were going to knock off the top-seed Milwaukee Bucks. However, after going up by five points with less than three minutes remaining, the Sixers allowed a 14-1 Milwaukee run to send the hometown Philadelphia fans home unhappy and a little whiplashed from how quickly things went sideways. The 128-122 defeat means the Sixers are in the midst of their first three-game losing streak of the season. Nevertheless, we select a Bell Ringer:

Joel Embiid: 34 points, 13 rebounds, 13 assists, 2 steals, 3 blocks, 3 turnovers

In his return to the court after a week off, things both started and ended poorly for Joel Embiid. He missed his first six shots, and then had a couple negative plays with the game hanging in the balance in the final minute. In between, though, he was brilliant. Embiid was visibly injured multiple times during the game. He went to the locker room with an ankle injury a couple minutes prior to halftime. Then, early in the third quarter, Giannis blocked him at the rim and Joel laid prone on the ground for a bit holding his lower back.

Yet, through it all, he recorded the second triple-double of his career. The big man hit a bevy of both face-up and turnaround jumpers, and was the only Sixer to get to the free throw line on more than two trips (going 7-of-10). Embiid also proved he’s both a lover and a fighter. He gave Redick a kiss on the elbow after JJ hurt it, and also got into a dodgeball-like skirmish to cause Eric Bledsoe to be ejected. Oh, plus, the team finally looked like it cared on the defensive end, and Embiid played a huge role in that transformation.

JJ Redick: 29 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 0 turnovers

I hope folks take the time to appreciate how much Redick has mastered his craft. Redick shot 5-of-9 from 3, and made some of the lay-ups that occasionally bedevil him. Beyond the numbers, though, some of the shots he hits are just absolutely ridiculous. He sank one mind-blowing mid-range jumper as his momentum was taking him out-of-bounds along the baseline, a shot maybe only a handful of guys on the planet are capable of knocking down. Showing he’s more than a one-trick pony, JJ also swatted an Ersan Ilyasova shot from behind to end the first half.

Mike Scott: 22 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 0 turnovers

Getting the start in place of Jimmy Butler, the Threegional Manager had the hot hand Thursday night, draining 6-of-8 from behind the arc, and making eight of his 11 shots overall. Scott caught fire in the third quarter, scoring 10 points in the period, including the Sixers’ last eight points of the frame. But his most solid play of the game came in defense of Joel Embiid. After Eric Bledsoe threw the ball at Embiid, Scott quickly threw it at Bledsoe and was the first to step into the rapidly forming fray. You always want Mike Scott on your side when things get hairy. Ultimate teammate.

Zhaire Smith: 6 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 turnovers

Now, without question, Smith botching a breakaway lay-up, which then led to a 3 for the Bucks on the other end, was an under-the-radar very damaging sequence for the Sixers. But let’s take a moment to appreciate how this was Smith’s first NBA action in a competitive, high-stakes game. Beyond that joyous truth, though, is the fact that Zhaire can flat-out defend. He’s the first Sixer since Robert Covington to be able to navigate through a screen and effectively clog it up on his own. You have to be encouraged about Zhaire’s future as a ball-stopping defender, which is basically the Sixers’ most glaring weakness.

Poll

Who is your choice in the loss to Milwaukee?

This poll is closed

  • 61%
    Joel Embiid
    (299 votes)
  • 12%
    JJ Redick
    (60 votes)
  • 14%
    Mike Scott
    (70 votes)
  • 11%
    Zhaire Smith
    (57 votes)
486 votes total Vote Now