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Playoff Bell Ringer: Sixers overcome Bradley Beal and the refs for Game 1 win

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Washington Wizards v Philadelphia 76ers - Game One Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Note: Here’s one last look at the regular season standings. We’ll only list playoff tallies moving forward.

Sixers Bell Ringer regular season standings:

Joel Embiid - 26
Ben Simmons - 14
Tobias Harris - 13
Shake Milton - 7
Tyrese Maxey - 4
Matisse Thybulle - 2
Danny Green - 2
Furkan Korkmaz - 2
Dakota Mathias - 1
Tony Bradley - 1

The Sixers survived a hard-earned 33 points from Bradley Beal and two horrendous foul calls to limit Joel Embiid’s minutes in the first half, defeating Washington, 125-118, in Game 1 of their 2021 playoff run. Trailing by one at halftime with Joel restricted to 10 first-half minutes due to three fouls (two ghastly calls by the refs, but also, Doc, use a challenge), Philadelphia pulled ahead with a double-digit run in the third quarter. During the course of a few minutes that saw some highly entertaining Matisse Thybulle defense on Beal and Danny Green and Seth Curry hitting the transition 3s we all wrote about in our offseason fan fiction, the Wells Fargo Center was rocking like it was 2001. The Wizards hung tough until the final minute, but the Sixers were able to knock off the rust from the layoff and take the 1-0 series lead. Bell Ringer time.

Tobias Harris: 37 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers

Washington Wizards v Philadelphia 76ers - Game One Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Enough can’t be said about Tobias Harris’s performance today. For a guy who doesn’t exactly have a sterling playoffs reputation in a Sixers uniform, Harris put the team on his back in the first half with Joel on the bench. Harris scored 28 points prior to halftime, one shy of his playoff career-high for an entire game (which he would soon surpass) and the most by a Sixer in a playoff half since Iverson in 2003. We all know how the Sixers’ offense can devolve into animals throwing their own scat at the wall when Embiid isn’t on the court. Harris prevented that from happening, keeping the Sixers in the game with a truly memorable effort. With Washington lacking strong wing defenders, Tobi was able to blow by slower forwards like Rui Hachimura, and bully his way into his preferred mid-range jumpers over smaller guards. Harris makes balletic euro-steps through and around defenders look second nature now. He ran out of gas late, but we’ll be looking back at this game on the short list of top highlights when Tobi’s Sixers career is said and done.

Joel Embiid: 30 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 5 turnovers

Washington Wizards v Philadelphia 76ers - Game One Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Embiid spent far too much of this game on the bench for anyone’s liking in Philadelphia, but his 30 points in 30 minutes were a precursor of the sort of domination over the Wizards we can expect to see in this series. No matter which of their three-headed hydra at center was in the game for Washington, Joel still got to the free-throw line, finishing 12-of-13 at the stripe. Send two defenders, Embiid still scores with a reverse lay-up. Send three and he converts an and-one anyway. The Sixers star continued to prove Shaq wrong in that big men can be successful shooting jumpers, hitting an array of one-legged and turnaround fadeaways. The only silver lining of his first-half foul trouble was Embiid having plenty of gas in the tank to close out the game, hitting three tough jumpers in crunch time to take the baton from Tobi and take the club across the finish line. Joel Embiid with a playoff home crowd is back in our lives. There are few things sweeter.

Ben Simmons: 6 points, 15 rebounds, 15 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 turnovers

Washington Wizards v Philadelphia 76ers - Game One Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Yes, Ben short-armed a bunch of hooks and finishes around the bunch, and his 0-of-6 mark from the foul line was incredibly damaging, especially when Doc Rivers insisted on leaving Ben in the game late and the Sixers didn’t have a late-game lead ball handler at guard who the Wizards wouldn’t be thrilled to foul. Simmons did everything else to help the team, though. He collected eight offensive rebounds, helping create a bushel of valuable extra possessions. His 15 assists were one shy of the franchise playoff-high in a playoff game, with Ben out there firing lasers like the Mandalorian. The Sixers’ pivotal third-quarter surge was a slideshow of Simmons hitting cutters and finding 3-point shooters in open space in transition.

George Hill: 11 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 turnovers

Washington Wizards v Philadelphia 76ers - Game One Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

In his first playoff game with the Sixers, George Hill was exactly who Daryl Morey was hoping for when acquiring him at the trade deadline: a steady veteran making smart plays and not the least bit fazed by the moment. Hill shot 5-of-8 from the field, including one casual pull-up 3 when the Wizards got lazy defending a Dwight Howard screen. I loved seeing Hill immediately recognize his man was doubling Joel Embiid, cutting along the baseline to score off the dish from Joel. That sort of help for Embiid by a cutting teammate just hasn’t been three nearly enough in past years. George also chipped in with a couple drives and steady defense — everything you expected from the vet.

Poll

Who is the Bell Ringer in the Game 1 win over Washington?

This poll is closed

  • 83%
    Tobias Harris
    (2432 votes)
  • 2%
    Joel Embiid
    (67 votes)
  • 14%
    Ben Simmons
    (410 votes)
  • 0%
    George Hill
    (18 votes)
2927 votes total Vote Now