For a refresher on our Bell Ringer series, take a look back at our first post of the season.
Bell Ringer Standings
Ben Simmons - 16
Tobias Harris - 10
Joel Embiid - 9
Josh Richardson - 8
Furkan Korkmaz - 5
Matisse Thybulle - 3
Al Horford - 1
James Ennis - 1
Raul Neto - 1
Shake Milton - 1
They say the first game after the All-Star break is often a strange affair, and Thursday night’s game against the Nets certainly qualified. The Sixers jumped out to a quick 22-6 lead, but Brooklyn countered with a 44-8 run of their own to assume a 50-30 advantage. Of course, this game was in Philadelphia, and even with Ben Simmons out with lower back tightness, you knew the Sixers wouldn’t go quietly at home.
Fighting back to make it a back-and-forth game in the fourth quarter, the Sixers then overcame a six-point deficit with two minutes remaining in regulation, with Joel Embiid going 4-of-4 at the free throw line in the final 35 seconds to twice tie the game and force overtime. During bonus basketball, Philadelphia turned up the defense, outscoring Brooklyn 9-1 to win 112-104, moving to 26-2 at home and keeping spirits high as the team hits the road for Saturday’s huge game in Milwaukee. Let’s choose a Bell Ringer:
Joel Embiid: 39 points, 16 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 5 turnovers
I mean, what can really be said about the dominant, two-way performance Joel Embiid put forth Thursday night. Sporting a new shape-up and bright yellow-green sneakers, Joel carried over his confidence from All-Star weekend by exploding for 11 points in the first five minutes of the game. Jarrett Allen was about two weight classes too light to contend with JoJo, and Embiid basically played the Nets starting center off the court (Allen logged just 13 minutes). All game long, Embiid played aggressively and fought his way to the free throw line, where, clearly more comfortable with the splint a thing of the past, he shot 18-of-19. I mentioned the four free throws in the final seconds already, but I have to reiterate what a tremendous advantage it is for a team’s starting center to calmly sink those shots in the most intense of situations.
Embiid was just as good on the defensive end as when the Sixers had the ball, which is saying something considering he went off for a season-high 39 points. His defense on the final play of regulation was a master class in helping off his man at the exact right moment, forcing Spencer Dinwiddie to pass and then recovering to block Wilson Chandler under the basket.
Joel also made a great play in overtime to read Dinwiddie’s pass and deflect away a lob attempt to DeAndre Jordan to force a turnover. I didn’t even go into Joel’s frenzied effort in the second half on the offensive boards. Or his feathery touch on a number of mid-range jumpers. In nearly every phase of the game, Embiid put the Sixers on his back. But I have to end with this: the eurostep that may have been a travel, but looked so darn pretty the refs were too mesmerized to even think of blowing the whistle.
Tobias Harris: 22 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers
There’s something to be said for consistency, and Tobias brought that to the table against Brooklyn, scoring six points in three of the four regulation quarters (and four points in the other), while logging a game-high 46 minutes and leading the team in assists. Harris shot 10-of-20 from the field, struggling like most of his teammates from behind the arc (0-of-4), but draining pull-up jumpers curling around Joel Embiid screens, and sealing his fronting defender for a pair of buckets under the basket. Even on a night his outside shot wasn’t falling, Tobi still found a way to attack the competition in a variety of ways. With so much in the air as far as the Sixers’ rotation and inconsistent play from the bench, it’s good to have a steady, reliable presence like Harris.
Alec Burks: 19 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 0 turnovers
Elton Brand can brush his shoulder off a bit after one of his trade deadline acquisitions played a pivotal role in the Sixers pulling out this win tonight. After a quiet first half that saw Burks attempt just one field goal, the former Warrior turned up the heat for 11 second-half points and five of the Sixers’ nine points in overtime. Burks provides the sort of savvy, pick-and-roll ball-handling that is sorely needed on this Philadelphia roster, with enough catch-and-shoot ability from behind the arc to help out with spacing around Embiid. He hit a pull-up 3 off the dribble in the pick-and-roll, a move as rare as a unicorn sighting in Philadelphia. Then, his and-one bucket in overtime had enough English on it to impress even Minnesota Fats.
Alec Burks with a FANTASTIC FINISH plus the foul pic.twitter.com/1UAmoDBEba— ClutchPoints NBA (@ClutchPointsNBA) February 21, 2020
Who is the Sixers’ Bell Ringer in the overtime win over Brooklyn?
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