Sixers Bell Ringer playoff standings:
Tobias Harris - 1
We are now through two games in this series and one thing is abundantly clear: the Wizards have no answers for the Sixers on the defensive end. Philadelphia scored 71 points in the first half, the franchise’s highest first-half total in the postseason since 1978. The Sixers maintained a healthy double-digit lead throughout the third quarter, before the second unit broke the game wide open early in the fourth, allowing the starters to sit out the final frame entirely. Bad for my ‘Joel Embiid to score 25 or more points’ wager, good for this team in navigating what we all expect/hope to be a long postseason run. The final score was 120-95, with BBall Paul providing some late-game fun for the whole family. The only downside from the on-court action was Seth Curry leaving the game with a sprained ankle. Hopefully, it’s not too serious, but for now, let’s get to tonight’s Bell Ringer.
Ben Simmons: 22 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 2 turnovers
Ben Simmons is a tremendously valuable player even when he doesn’t score. But when he does? Whew, look out. Simmons was aggressive from the jump Wednesday night, tallying 12 first-quarter points. Anytime Ben got deep position against Bradley Beal or Russell Westbrook, he posted up and went to the basket strong, rather than flipping up a soft shot going away from the basket. Simmons was still out there playing the same elite caliber of defense, and firing pinpoint passes. He didn’t get an assist because Seth Curry missed the ensuing long jumper, but one left-handed full-court pass through traffic Ben threw was exquisite. His work on the glass deserves mention as well; in addition to his couple offensive rebounds, there were multiple plays where the Wizards were whistled for fouls for pushing Ben in the back to prevent an offensive rebound. Simmons was the energy sparkplug on both ends of the court tonight; when he plays like this, there are truly few players better.
Great two-way sequence here from Ben Simmons.— Tom West (@TomWestNBA) May 26, 2021
Goes right at Bradley Beal and hits a short jumper, then blocks Beal's drive at the other end. pic.twitter.com/qfcTSziyi1
Tobias Harris: 19 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 turnover
Different night, same story for Tobias against the Wizards, who is going to absolutely feast in this series. Harris finished 8-of-9 from the field in the first half, tailing off ever so slightly in the second half after returning from an ankle tweak. Tobi had a handful of buckets on the interior against Bradley Beal, which is a matchup that simply won’t work for the Wizards. On the rare occasion Harris had a big man on him, he gave Alex Len whiplash with a wicked shimmy into a turnaround jumper along the baseline. Whether it’s Ben or Tobi, the Sixers are much too big for Washington’s three-guard lineup, and Scott Brooks needs to make an adjustment if the Wizards are going to be at all competitive in games moving forward.
Joel Embiid: 22 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 turnover
After letting Ben assume the spotlight in the first quarter, Joel came alive in the middle of the game, racking up 20 points in the second and third quarters combined. The Wizards just don’t have long enough defenders to bother Embiid with their double teams, so he was able to successfully diagnose what was coming his way and make the appropriate reads. He made one cross-court skip pass for a Seth Curry 3, and found Danny Green backpedaling into the opposite corner for 3. Joel had a great game behind the arc himself, making three of his four 3-point attempts. Honestly, it’s just great to see Embiid back in front of a home playoff crowd, whether he’s putting his hands to his ears after a big 3 or doing the DX chop after a “how does a man that large contort his body in that way” and-one finish.
Matisse Thybulle: 5 points, 4 steals, 5 blocks, 0 turnovers
Matisse Thybulle is the first player in NBA history with 4 steals and 5 blocks in 20 or fewer minutes of any game - regular season or postseason.@Stathead— Reuben Frank (@RoobNBCS) May 27, 2021
That stat kind of says it all. Post-game, Doc Rivers called Matisse his defensive Lou Williams, whose job is to come in and get stops. My favorite sequence was Thybulle blocking Rui Hachimura, Hachimura getting the ball back and stumbling to the ground, and then Matisse ripping the ball out of his hands. Thybulle even hit a 3, although he badly bricked another attempt. Still, no one has ever made defense this much fun for me as a fan.
Tyrese Maxey: 10 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks, 1 turnover
Sixers fans sure do love Tyrese Maxey, giving the rookie a standing ovation upon his first entering the game in the second half. And why shouldn’t they? Maxey plays the game at a different speed than everyone else. He scored on a couple lightning-quick drives to the hoop, including one silky-smooth reverse, and, of course, hit a floater. He tossed up a perfect lob to Paul Reed for a dunk, and also made some great defensive plays. Block tutor Matisse Thybulle said after the game how pumped they were about Tyrese getting one of his blocks on a rearview contest. The ‘give Maxey more minutes’ train has well and truly pulled out of the station.
Absurd reverse layup from Tyrese Maxey pic.twitter.com/ZnkgmPzHoH— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) May 27, 2021
Who is the Bell Ringer in the Game 2 win over Washington?
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