Sixers Bell Ringer playoff standings:
Ben Simmons - 4
Joel Embiid - 3
Tobias Harris - 1
George Hill - 1
Seth Curry - 1
After the disastrous fourth quarter of Game 5, the Sixers picked themselves up off the mat...and started Game 6 looking awful. Atlanta led by 12 midway through the first quarter, Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons each picked up two early fouls, and Joel Embiid was treating the ball like a greased pig. Enter: Tyrese Maxey. The rookie boosted the Sixers on a 7-0 run to start the second to tie the game at 29. Suddenly, it was a game again and the season was no longer circling the drain.
Down four at halftime, the Sixers earned their first lead and then some with a 14-0 run to start the second half, powered by the unbelievably hot shooting of Seth Curry. Seth scored 11 of those 14 Sixers points, going on an absolute heater with a trio of 3s. The Sixers maintained a slim lead through the rest of the half, with things getting heated between John Collins and Joel Embiid with four minutes left in the game.
Embiid was whistled for an offensive foul for inadvertently catching Collins with an elbow to the face. Collins then pushed and kicked Joel off of him while the two were on the ground. Joel took offense as the two men stood up, walking into the Hawks forward with his arms extended out to the side in the “I’m not touching you motion”. Meanwhile, Trae Young pushed Joel from behind, moving the whole fracas under the basket into the stanchion area. Of course, the whole thing resulted in a meaningless double tech.
Joel Embiid and John Collins in each other's faces late in the fourth. pic.twitter.com/vJooBJD8Ea— ESPN (@espn) June 19, 2021
A couple minutes later, back-to-back Atlanta 3s cut the Sixers’ lead to one, and butts clenched throughout the greater Philadelphia area. However, while he had a tough offensive game to that point, Embiid stepped up with a bucket, and followed it up by getting fouled on the team’s next possession as well, making it a four-point game. From there, the Sixers played solid defense and hit enough of their foul shots to prevail, 104-99. We’ll have a Game 7 on Sunday. Until then, Bell Ringer time.
Seth Curry: 24 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover
Seth became the first Sixer with six or more 3-pointer in consecutive playoff games, going 6-of-9 from downtown, and Philadelphia needed every one of them. In addition to those 11 points early in the third quarter, Curry would hit another 3 later in the third for 14 points altogether in the frame. Seth’s shots were high-speed affairs, with him flying off screens or pulling up off a hard dribble, often over the hand of an onrushing defender. Curry’s heavy lifting in the third completely changed the tenor of the game. He has been unbelievable all series long and I pinch myself thinking about his sticking around beyond this season on that contract.
Tyrese Maxey: 16 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 0 turnovers
After Shake Milton played the role of guard off the bench to save the season in Game 2, tonight it was Tyrese Maxey’s turn. All the vibes were terrible to start this game, until Maxey entered like a bolt of lightning to inject some life into this Sixers team. The rookie hit his first four shots, and hit a rolling Dwight Howard with a great feed under the basket for a dunk. Atlanta has guards who you can exploit defensively off the dribble, and well, Maxey is the Sixer best equipped to beat said Hawks off the dribble. Lou Williams could only watch as Tyrese rolled in a reverse lay-up along the baseline. Although his shot would cool off (Maxey finished 5-of-12 from the field after his 4-off-4 start), he did can a huge 3 early in the fourth quarter (and had another waved off because of a weird Lou Will foul running through a Dwight Howard screen just as Maxey was going up). Maxey was part of the crunch-time 5, and did just enough at the foul line to keep this game out of nail-biting territory. He’s all ours, rest of the NBA.
Tyrese Maxey, declared off limits by the Sixers in James Harden trade talks in January, is now getting crunch-time run in Game 6 in Atlanta as Philadelphia tries to save its season.— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 19, 2021
Tobias Harris: 24 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 turnovers
Tobias played about seven straight rough quarters of basketball, before finally busting out of his mini-slump with 12 points in the second quarter of Game 6. Atlanta made him work hard for everything (and embarrassed him once with a block at the rim - love you for going hard, Tobi), but Harris got enough of his pull-ups and turnaround jumpers to go. He also canned two of his three 3-point attempts, including a slick contested stepback from the wing. In the second half, Tobias never got hot for an extended stretch, but he always seemed to come through with a big bucket to help keep the Hawks at arms-length. I also think he did a better job defensively with the Collins matchup, and didn’t fare too badly on the whole on plays where he was switched onto Trae. Not an overwhelming Tobias performance, but a solid and much-needed one.
Joel Embiid: 22 points, 13 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks, 8 turnovers
Yes, tonight was a very poor offensive game from Joel. For some reason, he struggled to read the digs by Atlanta defenders, resulting in some unnecessary turnovers. Embiid also finished just 9-of-24 from the field, although he had a number of shots just rim out that usually fall for him and didn’t get a couple of the foul calls he normally gets (I didn’t get into this, but this officiating crew was dreadful).
Still, I mentioned that crucial possession with the Sixers up one late in the game. It’s your star player’s job to score in that situation and Joel got the job done. He also did yeoman-like work on the glass all evening, and played tremendous defense for the most part. Embiid “halved” his approach on the Trae drive/lob threats about as well as he could; one of his blocks came recovering on the feed to Capela, and one came when Trae decided to keep it for a running scoop attempt. There’s a reason nearly every Hawk hesitates driving into the painted area.
Who is the Bell Ringer in the Game 6 win over Atlanta?
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