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Sixers Bell Ringer: Game 39 - Without Joel Embiid, Sixers move to 3-0 on the season against Boston

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Surgery comes tomorrow, but tonight, a FaceTime celebration

NBA: Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

For a refresher on our Bell Ringer series, take a look back at our first post of the season.

Bell Ringer Standings

Ben Simmons - 9
Tobias Harris - 8
Joel Embiid - 8
Josh Richardson - 7
Matisse Thybulle - 3
Furkan Korkmaz - 1
Al Horford - 1
James Ennis - 1

The evening started out on a somber note, with the news announced that Joel Embiid was undergoing surgery in New York tomorrow to repair a ligament in the ring finger of his left hand. Spirits were much higher by the end of the night, however. After trailing by as many as 15 points, the Sixers used a 12-0 run late in the second quarter, an 11-0 run charge early in the third, and a 32-18 fourth quarter to top the Celtics and move to 3-0 on the season against their division rival. Elton Brand FaceTimed Embiid into the post-game locker room Bell Ringer celebration. Let’s have our own Bell Ringer celebration here:

Josh Richardson: 29 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 turnovers

A recent trend in baseball is to not only use a specialized reliever as a closer, but also have one start games as the opener. Thursday night, Josh Richardson was both. He kept the Sixers somewhat in the game in the first quarter, scoring 13 points in the period. J-Rich was clearly in an attack mode mindset, getting to the free throw line six times (part of his overall 10-for-10 night at the charity stripe.

Then, Richardson also helped put the game away in fourth quarter, scoring 14 points in the final frame. Josh was out there to begin the period as the only member of the usual starting five on the floor. Flanked by Mike Scott, Norvel Pelle, Furkan Korkmaz, and Trey Burke, Richardson knocked down pull-up jumpers on three straight possessions to hold down the fort. Overall, his continued development as a pick-and-roll ball handler has been a huge boon for a Sixers squad still looking to find paths to easier offense.

Al Horford: 17 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers

This is why you get Al Horford! With Embiid out of the lineup, Al assumed the starting center position and played a tremendous game on both ends of the court against his former club. He looked much more comfortable defensively, continuing to switch and hedge more as the Sixers move further away from the drop coverage. Horford was also the last line of defense when needed, coming up with two huge second-half blocks of Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown.

Offensively, Al kept the ball humming from his territory between the top of the key and the foul line. Also, in the first 90 seconds of the game, he posted up and hit a cutting Ben Simmons down the lane, a play that likely wouldn’t be there if Joel Embiid was also on the court. Horford hit four jumpers on the evening, and even got to show some vintage smashmouth basketball with a pivotal and-one off a post-up of Daniel Theis midway through the fourth quarter. What a luxury to not be looking at the likes of Greg Monroe manning the middle this season when Embiid goes down.

Ben Simmons: 19 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 3 turnovers

Starting point guard. The team’s first option at backup center. It was truly a night showing the full breadth of Ben Simmons’ versatility. While the backup center experiment didn’t go great for the team as a whole, Ben did draw an offensive foul while guarding Enes Kanter under the basket. He had more success in other aspects of “big man” play, sinking three short hooks off post-ups and duck-ins in the second half.

But Simmons also had success in more perimeter-oriented actions. He had a handful of successful drives to the hoop and made some sharp off-ball cuts for buckets. Defensively, he was part of the switchable, long-armed group that put the clamps on Boston in the fourth quarter. Simmons wasn’t credited with a steal here, but this is a guy who spent some time at center in the game squaring up against Kemba Walker and picking his pocket.

Ben also had a tremendous play late in the third quarter where he made a bad pass, but didn’t hang his head and immediately intercepted a Boston outlet pass downcourt, then galloped into the offensive end and found Norvel Pelle for a bucket. It was a man truly in command of the on-court proceedings.

Tobias Harris: 16 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 turnover

Tobi was the linchpin of the team’s third quarter surge, recording nine points and two steals in the period, with all four of his field goals coming in a four-minute span. On the second swipe, Harris made a nice read to come off his man in the corner and disrupt Jayson Tatum’s pass underneath to Daniel Theis. Tobias also bested Theis with the ball, twice going right at the Celtics’ starting center for lay-ins. He also bullied Gordon Hayward in the post, backing him down for an easy turnaround jumper. Harris may not have been the biggest standout tonight, but he seamlessly played his part in the collective team effort.

Norvel Pelle: 6 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 turnover

I had to give a tip of the cap to Norvel Pelle, who is quickly forcing the Sixers to make a decision on his roster status as his service limit approaches on his two-way contract. Pelle gave the team quite a spark tonight, blocking Gordon Hayward within his first minute of playing time, which is always a crowd-pleaser. Moments later, he stuffed home an alley-oop from Josh Richardson. Later in the game, the crowd was delighted by a Pelle finger wag while protecting the rim against Enes Kanter. When Norvel exited the game in the fourth quarter, it was to a small standing ovation.

Poll

Who is the Sixers’ Bell Ringer in the win over Boston?

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    Josh Richardson
    (788 votes)
  • 15%
    Al Horford
    (182 votes)
  • 13%
    Ben Simmons
    (165 votes)
  • 0%
    Tobias Harris
    (4 votes)
  • 4%
    Norvel Pelle
    (52 votes)
1191 votes total Vote Now