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Sixers Bell Ringer: The Sixers’ biggest stars shine despite loss to Portland

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Philadelphia 76ers v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Sixers Bell Ringer Season Standings:

Joel Embiid - 11
Tobias Harris - 5
Shake Milton - 3
Ben Simmons - 3
Tyrese Maxey - 1
Dakota Mathias - 1
Matisse Thybulle - 1

Portland started Thursday night hitting seven of their first eight shots from behind the arc, led in large part by Damian Lillard’s 19 first-quarter points. However, the Sixers kept things tight and eventually found themselves in the driving seat for much of the game, holding the lead for the entire third quarter and the first few minutes of the fourth. Then, however, Carmelo Anthony caught fire, dropping 17 points in the final frame, including the game-winning free throws after a questionable foul call on Tobias Harris with three seconds remaining. It was ultimately a tough-to-swallow 118-114 loss for the Sixers in Portland, the first L this season with the full starting lineup available. Let’s choose our Bell Ringer in defeat.

Ben Simmons: 23 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover

Philadelphia 76ers v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

Simmons started out this game playing as well as he has all season. He tallied 13 points in the first quarter, his highest scoring quarter of the season, via an array of right-handed hook shots and hard-charging drives into the lane. He also had a hustling block from behind and a steal along the perimeter, both of which directly led to Ben assists and five more Sixers points. Ben stayed aggressive throughout the game, getting to the rim and finishing 10-of-12 from the field for a season-high 23 points. The point guard was also the main reason the Sixers were able to hold Damian Lillard to 2-of-13 shooting in the second half. Tonight was an outstanding two-way effort from Philadelphia’s star, and also a promising sign that both he and Joel Embiid can have good offensive nights simultaneously.

Joel Embiid: 35 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers

Philadelphia 76ers v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

It’s such an interesting experience watching Joel these days, as he could be having a below average half by his standards, struggling a bit with the stout post defense of Enes Kanter, but then all of a sudden, he explodes like a hurricane. In a little over a six-minute stretch to close out the first half, Embiid dropped 15 points, faking the handoff and slipping by in a flash for a monster dunk, or sinking an impossible-looking baseline jumper against the textbook defense of Robert Covington. Suddenly Joel has 23 points at halftime, which puts him only behind Steph Curry for 20-point halves this season, and he’s about to record his 10th straight game with 25 points. With the Sixers down five and one minute left in the game, Embiid got the ball at the top of the key and took one dribble into the smoothest foul line jumper you’ll ever want to see. That a seven-footer can casually step into shots like that in crunchtime is remarkable, as are these 35-point games Joel is making look commonplace.

Seth Curry: 15 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 turnovers

Philadelphia 76ers v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Seth had another game looking like his pre-COVID self, which is more important long-term for this Sixers team than whether or not they win a mid-February game in Portland. Curry went 3-of-7 from behind the arc, moving well and working himself open for good looks at the basket. The sniper hit an absolutely enormous game-tying 3 in transition with 22 seconds left in the game, giving just enough of a pump fake to mess up Derrick Jones Jr.’s timing on a block attempt, before firing it up without a second’s hesitation. Shame that enormously clutch shot wound up coming in a losing effort.

Poll

Who is the Bell Ringer in the loss in Portland?

This poll is closed

  • 87%
    Ben Simmons
    (1092 votes)
  • 10%
    Joel Embiid
    (134 votes)
  • 1%
    Seth Curry
    (22 votes)
1248 votes total Vote Now