Sixers Bell Ringer Season Standings:
Joel Embiid - 6
Tobias Harris - 3
Shake Milton - 3
Tyrese Maxey - 1
Dakota Mathias - 1
After a back-and-forth game, the Sixers cranked up the defense in the fourth quarter, outscoring Boston 31-17 in the final period to pull out a 117-109 win. These same two teams will be back at it on Friday night, more than likely with Jayson Tatum and Seth Curry both joining the proceedings. Should be fun! Let’s pick tonight’s Bell Ringer.
Joel Embiid: 42 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover
The Boston Celtics had absolutely no answer for Joel Embiid. He consistently kept the pressure on the Celtics all night long, scoring 12 points in the first, another 10 in the second, 14 in the third, and a “quiet” 6 in the fourth for a game-high 42 points. That it’s not even his highest point total in the last two weeks speaks to the MVP-caliber season Embiid is having. If Boston tried to play Joel straight up, his man often had to resort to fouling him, with Embiid going 17-of-21 at the foul line, more free throw attempts than the entire Boston team. On the rare occasions Boston walled Embiid off, he would square up and nail a jumper or hit some ridiculous fadeaway. His only having one turnover was also huge, as the Celtics sent double and even triple teams at Embiid, but he recognized them right away and got the ball moving so one of his teammates could make Boston pay. It was a truly masterful performance for the big man.
Tobias Harris: 22 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 0 turnovers
We’ll call Tobias the team’s bookend tonight, as he got things started with 11 points in the first, and helped close out the game with 9 points in the fourth. His fourth-quarter performance was particularly impactful as he carried a bench unit with Embiid resting and Ben Simmons in foul trouble. Harris shot an efficient 9-of-17 from the floor, and he stepped up when the the other two stars were off the court, which is exactly what the Sixers were hoping back when they gave him the big contract we rarely discuss.
Shake Milton: 16 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal, 4 turnovers
Shake’s confidence continues to grow by the day. The team’s sixth man dropped off a bit from his three-straight games of 24-plus points, but he was still vital to lifting the offense in the non-Embiid minutes. Milton went 2-of-2 from 3 and 6-of-6 from the foul line, and his one assist belied the fact that he made a number of nice passes that his teammates didn’t convert. Shake had a really nice skip pass off the live dribble to create an open corner 3 for Matisse Thybulle that went off the mark. Milton also did a passable job defensively, which is something we always watch out for against Boston since they’ll hunt someone they’re able to pick apart in those brutal playoff series.
Ben Simmons: 11 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers
Once again, Ben didn’t have a standout offensive performance, but he was much more aggressive than the past few games, which was a big improvement. Simmons was 7-of-10 from the foul line, with those 10 attempts marking a season-high for the 6-foot-10 point guard. We need to see fewer wild, off-balance finishes around the rim, but getting around the rim is a good step. Defensively, Ben was huge down the stretch, making a handful of impactful plays through sheer hustle and athleticism to keep Boston from making one last push.
Who is the Bell Ringer for the win over the Celtics?
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