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Playoff Bell Ringer: Sixers suffer a collapse for the ages

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It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Atlanta Hawks v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Five Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Sixers Bell Ringer playoff standings:

Ben Simmons - 4
Joel Embiid - 3
Tobias Harris - 1
George Hill - 1

Wow. Tonight was a game you’ll remember for the rest of your life, but not in the good way. The Sixers came out looking ready to put the Game 4 disaster behind them. They shot 16-of-20 from the field in the first quarter, including 5-of-7 from 3, dropping 38 points on the Hawks, who looked absolutely shook. Philadelphia would lead by as many as 26 points, and although things got a little sloppy early in the second half, the Sixers still led by 20 with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter.

Then, the old struggles of the all-bench/Tobi-and-bench line-up reared their ugly head. Atlanta quickly cut the lead to 11 points, before Doc Rivers finally waved for all of the starters to return. But the bleeding wouldn’t stop. Lou Williams was unconscious in the fourth quarter, haunting his old team with 15 points on the night. The Sixers’ offense suddenly ground to a halt, as they would go about a six-minute stretch in the fourth quarter without a field goal.

While the Hack-A-Ben scenario helped the Sixers in the first half, the fourth quarter saw Ben Simmons taken out of the game (he finished 4-of-14 at the foul line). Suddenly, Shake Milton was out there as the primary initiator in late-game possessions with the season hanging in the balance (and not in the fun, Shake is on fire, Game 2 way). Joel Embiid and Seth Curry would finish as the only Sixers to make field goals in the second half.

Atlanta would take its first first lead of the game at 105-104. Even Embiid got in on the collapse, missing two free throws in the final minute after starting the game 11-of-11 at the line. The Hawks ended things on a 15-2 run, and the Sixers lost 109-106. They will somehow have to put these last two losses out of their minds in a two-day span and get a win in Atlanta Friday night, or the season is over. Now for a less than half-hearted Bell Ringer vote.

Joel Embiid: 37 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 4 blocks, 5 turnovers

Atlanta Hawks v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Five Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Quickly putting the fears to rest regarding the health of his knee, Joel Embiid had one of his best quarters ever to start Game 5. The big man shot 8-of-8 from the field for 17 points in the first quarter, hitting his jumpers and bullying Clint Capela and company down in the paint. Defensively, Joel had an amazing chasedown block of Clint Capela, and was the driving force of some dreadful at-the-rim shooting numbers for Atlanta in the half. He picked up a technical for jawing at Clint Capela after Ben Simmons dunked on him, which turned into an enjoyable moment as he gestured to the crowd while walking to the bench. Embiid finished the half with 24 points and 10 rebounds, having flashed both the Dirk fadeaway and the Hakeem Dream shake.

The second half was a different story, though. Joel committed some sloppy turnovers and missed his final four field goals of the game, on top of those crucial missed free throws at the end. Still, two guys on the Sixers made shots from the field in the second half and Joel was one of them. He’s giving this team much more than enough on a torn meniscus.

Seth Curry: 36 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 turnover

2021 NBA Playoffs - Atlanta Hawks v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Before The Great Collapse (nod to Sweet Tooth), it looked like Seth was going to get the Son-in-Law of the Year award for saving Doc Rivers in the fourth quarter. Upon re-entering the game, Curry started going toe-to-toe with Lou Will, hitting tough shots of the floater, pull-up, and stepback variety. His shot creation was invaluable all night long, as his playoff-career-high 36 points was mainly boosted by his 7-of-12 mark from behind the arc. While everyone aside from Joel was looking tight on the offensive end, especially as the lead dwindled down, Seth was out there fearlessly hoisting the ball and tickling the twine. It’s no wonder Donnie Nelson and the Mavericks “mutually parted ways” after letting Curry leave the DFW area.

Matisse Thybulle: 6 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 turnover

Atlanta Hawks v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Five Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

We saw some good things from Matisse tonight, who hit both of his 3-pointers, and hit Ben Simmons with a beautiful bounce pass for the slam off the drive. Thybulle has worked hard to reach the point where Atlanta has to start respecting him a little more on the offensive end. When he can do that alongside his incredible valuable defensive contributions, you really have something.

Poll

Who is the Bell Ringer in the Game 5 loss to Atlanta?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Joel Embiid
    (334 votes)
  • 70%
    Seth Curry
    (910 votes)
  • 4%
    Matisse Thybulle
    (54 votes)
1298 votes total Vote Now