Note: No traditional recap post for tonight’s game.
Sixers Bell Ringer playoff standings:
Joel Embiid - 3
Ben Simmons - 2
Tobias Harris - 1
George Hill - 1
After looking comatose at the beginning of this series, the Sixers’ bench carried over their strong second half in Game 2 to the first half tonight. The second unit scored 30 points in the first half, the most for a Sixers bench in a first half over the last 25 postseasons, per ESPN Stats and Info. The Sixers led by five at halftime, but the bad news was Danny Green leaving the game for good in the first quarter with a right calf strain. Green was later seen on the bench in a walking boot; we might have seen the last of him in this series.
Coming out of halftime, the Sixers didn’t miss a field goal in the third quarter until six minutes had passed. The bench starred early, but it was the team’s cornerstone stars who shined in the third quarter, as Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons each scored 11 points in the period. Philadelphia had a 20-point lead going into the fourth quarter, and the team played consistently well enough down the stretch to keep things out of the danger zone and give Sixers fans a relatively stress-free 127-111 win. Philadelphia has recaptured home-court advantage in taking a 2-1 series lead, and really seems to have unlocked the right strategy to ground these Hawks. Before we start daydreaming about Sixers in 5, let’s select tonight’s Bell Ringer.
Ben Simmons: 18 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 3 turnovers
After the game, Doc Rivers said they told Ben Simmons at halftime that he was being too passive and they were going to feature him in the post. Good plan! Along with his 11 points, Simmons had three assists in the third, including a beautiful cross-court pass to Seth Curry in the corner for 3 and a no-look hook alley-oop feed to Embiid. The Sixers just look so much more dynamic when Ben is looking to score when he gets into the painted area. John Collins and Danilo Gallinari aren’t quick enough to stay with you, Ben. Attack! In addition to his scoring surge, Ben did another great job leading the committee to guard Trae Young. Trae had a good game with 28 points and 8 assists, but he never exploded and took over the game like he’ll need to if the Hawks are going to have a chance; Ben made sure of it. Oh, and Simmons shot 4-of-8 from the foul line, which is practically ticker tape parade worthy for him at this point.
Joel Embiid: 27 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal, 3 blocks, 1 turnover
It remains marvelous the load Joel Embiid is carrying on both ends of the court on a torn meniscus (or maybe Marvelous, because the big man is a real-life superhero). Embiid is doing everything humanly possible to be in two places at once, deterring both drivers entering the paint and Atlanta’s potent lob game. His vicious block of rookie Onyeka Okongwu might qualify as abuse of a minor. Like clockwork, Embiid earned himself another 16 free throw attempts, as he continues to handily win the grift-off between he and Trae Young. Atlanta definitely came in with a more intent play to bring the double and triple teams early and often against Joel. Fortunately for Sixers fans, those extra bodies coming at Embiid didn’t bother him in the least. He remained poised and found the open man on his way to his most assists this postseason. Embiid simply looks in total control of everything whenever he’s on the court. What a treasure.
Tobias Harris: 22 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 turnover
Alongside the two All-Stars, Tobias deserves a ton of credit for his steady production throughout the evening. Harris consistently had his defenders off balance, scoring with an array of runners and floaters on his way to a 10-of-16 night from the field. He also put the final nails in the coffin of this victory, scoring on a floater and then finding Joel under the basket with a perfect pass for another bucket late in the fourth. The fact that the Sixers can pencil Tobi in for 20-plus points every night now is such a luxury.
Furkan Korkmaz: 14 points, 1 assist, 2 steals, 0 turnovers
After struggling mightily in Game 2, Furkan Korkmaz was on the court in uniform after the game getting up shots. I tweeted that in the wake of Shake Milton’s rags-to-riches story, Furkan would be the next bench player to lead the team to victory in Game 3. Yup! Things got furky tonight, as Korkmaz exploded for 11 points on 3-of-3 shooting, including 2-of-2 from downtown, in the first quarter. Much later, Korkmaz ended his evening by hitting a 3 with four minutes left in the game to extend the lead to 16, then holding his gooseneck up all the way down the court. True swag.
Furkan Korkmaz is wonderful pic.twitter.com/pgk5EkFZIP— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) June 12, 2021
Matisse Thybulle: 7 points, 1 rebound, 2 steals, 0 turnovers
Matisse entered the game a little earlier than anticipated due to Green’s injury, and immediately took a metaphorical shredder to Atlanta’s offensive gameplan. Thybulle pulled his Nightcrawler routine for two first-quarter steals, covering wide swaths of the court in the blink of an eye. He chipped in a couple early buckets, and later helped bust the Hawks’ zone defense with a corner 3. Matisse would eventually foul out, but he was some sort of ephemeral creature of the winds in his limited time on the court.
Matisse Thybulle deters a 3, then Ben Simmons deters a 3 and it leads to an easy steal pic.twitter.com/hlcsq49b7j— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) June 12, 2021
Who is the Bell Ringer in the Game 3 win over Atlanta?
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