A pair of second-half runs, one at 22-4 and another at 22-8, fueled the Philadelphia 76ers to a 117-97 rout of the New Orleans Pelicans as both teams kicked off the 2021-22 regular season Wednesday evening. After entering the break knotted at 53, the Sixers outscored the Pelicans 64-44 in the final 24 minutes. They were primarily led by Furkan Korkmaz’s fourth-quarter flurry, but guys like Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey chipped in as well down the stretch. It’s time to talk Bell Ringer. Let’s get to it.
Furkan Korkmaz: 22 points, five assists, one steal
Look, I’m never one to influence voters, but this dude-turned-flamethrower is your Bell Ringer to open the regular season. He was the driving force behind the 22-4 run in the fourth quarter that stretched an 81-75 lead to 103-79 over a 5.5-minute span. He drilled four threes, including a pull-up from the parking lot, and scored or assisted on 17 consecutive points to begin the frame. With the Sixers short on ball-handling, he commandeered the second unit and sprayed a few tidy skip passes to corner shooters, a read he’s displayed throughout preseason as well. Aside from Maxey, nobody in Philadelphia’s starting unit played more than 28 minutes and that’s because Korkmaz turned this game on its head. He was money.
Furkan Korkmaz, greatest I've ever seen pic.twitter.com/jpDSCM6NiR— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) October 21, 2021
Joel Embiid: 22 points, six rebounds, five assists, one steal, one block
Embiid appeared well on his way to a gaudy stat line through three quarters, but didn’t play over the final 14:40 of the night. Prior to that, he cashed two threes, including a silky one off the bounce, flustered New Orleans with rangy pick-and-roll defense, showcased his versatile scoring arsenal and was patient against double-teams. There were a couple stretches when the jumper went quiet and a couple early fouls hampered his rim protection for a portion of the first half, but by and large, he looked like the MVP-caliber superstar he is.
Joel Embiid is a 7-foot center lmao pic.twitter.com/bjc66XxSFx— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) October 21, 2021
Andre Drummond: Six points, 17 rebounds, three assists, two steals, two blocks
Following an impressive preseason showing, Drummond continued his impactful play on Wednesday. Smartly, the Sixers’ pick-and-roll scheme defensively empowered him to be aggressive and he thrived. He consistently stunted at ball-handlers to axe their live dribble and took away lobs or pocket passes to rollers. As a rim protector, he altered numerous shots and prevented a paint-heavy scoring team from dominating inside. While he grew overzealous offensively a few times in the first half, highlighted in part by four turnovers, he also sprung free ball-handlers with rugged screens. The bench played quite well in this one and Drummond was crucial to those efforts.
Dre showing off some 20/20 looks pic.twitter.com/ESMN9HvFLO— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) October 21, 2021
Matisse Thybulle: Two points, four steals, one block
I struggled to decide between Thybulle and Maxey for the final spot here. Maxey poured in a quiet 20 points and really found rhythm in the second half. But man, Thybulle gave Brandon Ingram problems basically the entire game when they were matched up. Shot after shot, there was Thybulle to contest it or frustrate Ingram. He rarely conceded air space on the All-Star’s jumpers and was the primary reason, at least from the Sixers’ side, that Ingram finished with 25 points on 12-of-26 shooting (48.1 percent true shooting). Naturally, he also wreaked havoc as an off-ball roamer and nabbed four steals. After earning an All-Defensive Team nod last season, he stepped right back into that role to open his third year.
Who is Wednesday’s Bell Ringer against the Pelicans?
This poll is closed