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 - 10
Josh Richardson - 8
Furkan Korkmaz - 6
Matisse Thybulle - 3
Al Horford - 1
James Ennis - 1
Raul Neto - 1
Shake Milton - 1
Coming off a wildly disappointing loss in Milwaukee, the Sixers looked to quickly turn things around Monday night at home, jumping out to a 21-point lead in the first quarter. Of course, the Sixers being the Sixers, the Hawks gradually worked their way back into the game, eventually retaking the lead when Trae Young hoisted in a 3 with less than a second remaining in the third quarter. However, thanks to the continued magic of home-court advantage, and the fine work done by the man we’ll discuss below, Philadelphia took a game that was tied at 98 in the fourth quarter, and put the game to bed with a 17-4 run. On to the Bell Ringer from the Sixers’ 129-112 victory:
Joel Embiid: 49 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 1 block, 4 turnovers
Although Joel said after the game that his recent “best player in the world” comment was taken out of context and joked that Tim Bontemps needed to “do a better job reporting”, you could certainly use tonight’s performance to make a pretty good case backing up that statement. Embiid asserted his will early on, dropping 13 points in the first quarter, and the Hawks never had an answer for him, as he repeatedly banged down low for superior position and earned his way to the charity stripe.
The fourth quarter was when he really willed his team to victory, though, with a whopping 22 points in the final period. He started the frame by recognizing a mismatch off a switch against Jeff Teague, and bullied him down into the paint before recording the and-one, giving the Sixers back the lead. He continued with an emphatic dunk through Dewayne Dedmon and De’Andre Hunter, then schooled Kevin Huerter with a pass fake to create a wide-open lane for himself. Joel tied his previous career-high of 46 points by hammering home a putback dunk. He established the new career-high of 49 by dribbling his way into a pull-up 3 right in the face of John Collins.
Embiid finished 17-of-24 from the field, and 14-of-15 from the foul line, while also serving as the team’s “goalkeeper” on the defensive end. It’s a truly dominant performance, made more thrilling by the fact that Joel, as he has stated, has gotten back to having fun on the basketball court. It’s thrilling to see him pump up the crowd, flex after a big dunk, and shimmy after a ballsy big shot. This is the Joel Embiid this team and city needs, not just the MVP-caliber player, but the once-in-a-generation captivating performer.
Tobias Harris: 25 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 0 turnovers
From doubtful to questionable to in Monday night’s starting lineup, you can (rightfully) question the Sixers’ decision to send Tobias out there with his knee injury, but you can’t question Harris’ production once he stepped onto the court. Admittedly still battling through the knee issue, Harris helped the Sixers out to their early lead with 10 first-quarter points. Tobi was feeling it from downtown, shooting 4-of-6 from 3, but also contributed with buckets in transition and off drives and cuts to the rim. He and Embiid worked a nice two-man game on a handful of occasions, with Tobias stopping mid-lane on one play to toss a nice feed to a rolling Joel. Harris capped off his evening with a terrific block of John Collins in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, then pushing the ball up to Al Horford for what felt like the nail in the Hawks’ coffin.
HARRIS WITH THE STOP.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) February 25, 2020
HORFORD WITH THE BUCKET. pic.twitter.com/3RF3PYmg6u
Furkan Korkmaz: 15 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers
Korkmaz also contributed to the Sixers’ excellent night from behind the arc, sinking three of his seven 3-point attempts. It was the 20th game this season with at least three 3s for Furkan, who has made these effective nights from the perimeter seem more and more commonplace as the season progresses. But beyond the outside shooting, I also liked the dribble-drive game Furkan put on display, which earned some trips to the free throw line, where he shot 6-of-7. It’s wonderful to watch as Korkmaz continues to grow into a well-rounded player, so much more than the bomber Brett Brown hoped for towards the beginning of the season. Bonus points are awarded to Furkan for having the foresight to pass up a wide-open lay-up in the final minute and dribble out so that Embiid could get his new career-high.
When you need a bucket, leave it to Furk. pic.twitter.com/sfQSJZknIu— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) February 25, 2020
Shake Milton: 7 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 turnovers
Shake is one of the cadre of guys Brett is looking toward to help assume ball-handling duties while Ben is sidelined. The early returns were very encouraging, with Milton leading the team in assists, including a sweet look-away find of Tobias Harris in transition for a dunk. He also did a fine job defensively, mostly tracking Kevin Huerter, but also taking a handful of possessions against Trae Young. Shake said in the post-game locker room, “I just feel like it’s my job to be ready, whatever the team wants me to do.” He was ready tonight.
Al Horford: 7 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block, 1 turnover
Re-entering the starting lineup with Ben Simmons sidelined and the Hawks having John Collins as the starting four, Al Horford stepped up with a solid all-around game. As Brett Brown said after the game, “I thought that some of his passes tonight were elite...he really, I thought, made some adult plays, some sophisticated plays.” Horford kept the ball humming, and whether he was spacing the floor or getting the opportunity to work underneath for a nifty lay-up with Joel on the bench, Al’s presence never felt clunky. He also had a huge block of Kevin Huerter, and when the crowd erupted to cheer the play, it was like Horford’s weird lineup fit happened in a different universe.
Who is the Bell Ringer for the Sixers’ win over the Hawks?
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