Postseason Bell Ringer Recipients
As can often be the case in a Game 7, both teams were extremely tight to start Sunday night’s contest. The Sixers began the game 0-of-9 from the field, allowing the Raptors to jump out to an early lead. However, two big Philadelphia runs, a 14-2 surge midway through the second quarter, and a 16-0 push in the third quarter, kept the Sixers within striking distance throughout the evening.
After tying the game with just outside of three minutes remaining, the Sixers went three straight offensive possessions without so much as getting a shot on rim. That sequence will certainly haunt Sixers fans for years to come, but it was allowing Toronto to grab 16 offensive rebounds throughout the game that was the true difference maker. Ultimately, 41 points from Kawhi Leonard, capped off by the first game-winning buzzer beater in a Game 7 in NBA history, sent the Sixers headlong into the offseason in heartbreaking fashion.
Joel Embiid: 21 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks, 4 turnovers
Because the front office constructed a roster comprised almost entirely of backup centers, but without any that could actually play against a good team in the playoffs, Joel Embiid had to push himself to the limit. The big man played a game-high 45 minutes and finished as a plus-10. Yes, the Sixers managed to be a minus-12 in the three minutes Embiid sat out, and I don’t know if you need to know anything more about what he means to this team.
JoJo certainly didn’t have his best offensive game, as his 6-of-18 line from the field would attest. But any time he got the ball inside the arc, he had multiple defenders coming at him, and he largely handled the swarm of Raptors well. He made a couple plays in the third quarter that were simply jaw-dropping for a man his size, driving past Marc Gasol and sidestepping Pascal Siakam for an an-one play, and later turning baseline against Gasol for a huge slam. He manufactured points at the free throw line (8-of-9), and made some huge defensive plays (the measured chasedown block of Fred VanVleet was terrific). Embiid left everything out on that floor, even the tears he shed after the loss.
Jimmy Butler: 16 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 turnover
The Sixers’ most consistent player during the playoffs, Butler had probably his worst half of the postseason, tallying just two points and one assist prior to halftime. However, the adult in the room finally showed up in a big way in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 points in the period, capped off by his game-tying lay-up in the closing seconds that looked like it might force overtime. That final charge to the cup by Butler would be a fitting way to memorialize him on what could be his last play as a 76er, but I hope the unrestricted free agent has many more to come in a Philadelphia uniform.
Ben Simmons: 13 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 3 blocks, 5 turnovers
Ben Simmons fought tooth-and-nail to slow down Kawhi Leonard. Sure, Kawhi dropped 41 points and hit an all-time game-winner, but he needed an astounding 39 field goal attempts to get there. Leonard shot just 9-of-22 from the field with Simmons as his primary defender, per NBA.com. Twice, Simmons made great blocks from behind on Raptors jump shooters, something he’s among the best in the league at doing. Offensively, he was more of a threat out of the post, drawing some Toronto double teams to free up teammates. Ben even hit his foul shots, finishing 5-of-6 at the line. Some of the five turnovers were poor decisions, all of which came in the second half, but this postseason showed great strides from the 22-year-old.
Tobias Harris: 15 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers
Harris had an efficient offensive night, shooting 5-of-9 from the floor and 2-of-5 from 3, hitting shots both in spot-up situations and off the dribble. His iso, pull-up jumper from the foul line against Serge Ibaka was a thing of beauty. On the other end of the court, Tobi’s ability to play the bulk of his possessions against the much bigger Marc Gasol really helped the team, enabling Joel Embiid to remain back in the lane as a rim deterrent. Harris may not be a plus-defender, but his versatility certainly proved valuable.
Tobias Harris leads Sixers with 13 points— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) May 13, 2019
JJ Redick: 17 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover
With the Sixers often bogged down in the half court, it was often Redick hurling long-distance bombs with the tiniest sliver of space that proved to be the best shot they could muster. JJ finished 4-of-8 from 3, and made the right read to find Embiid out of their two-man action when the Raptors sent the double team at him. Defensively, Redick did everything you could have asked of him. The Raptors never really singled him out, and his two main defensive assignments, Danny Green and Kyle Lowry, combined to shoot just 5-of-16 from the field (1-of-3 with Redick as the primary defender, per NBA.com).
Who is the final Bell Ringer of the season?
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