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Playoff Bell Ringer: Sixers advance to second round with 129-112 Game 5 win

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Bring on the Hawks!

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

Sixers Bell Ringer playoff standings:

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

With Joel Embiid unavailable for Game 5, the Sixers shifted to small ball by inserting Matisse Thybulle in the starting lineup. Initially, the lack of rim protection hurt Philadelphia, with Bradley Beal (32 points) easily getting to the rim with frequency. The Sixers offense certainly looked perky, though, finishing the game 51.2 percent from the field and attempting 43 free throws (making 34). When the Wizards’ shots stopped falling in the fourth quarter (6-of-18 from the field in the final frame), the Sixers were able to pull away and start an early celebration on their way to a 129-112 victory. They now advance to the second round to face the Atlanta Hawks, but before we turn our attention to Trae Young and company, let’s choose our final Bell Ringer from the first round.

Seth Curry: 30 points, 2 assists, 2 turnovers

NBA: Washington Wizards at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

In Embiid’s absence, the Sixers handed the keys to the offense to Seth Curry, who responded with a playoff career-high 30 points. The best Curry scored nine points in the first quarter to help the Sixers keep pace a hot Wizards club out of the gate, but he really turned it up at the beginning of the third quarter. Seth scored 12 points in the first four minutes and change of the second half, roasting poor Raul Neto over a spit as the Sixers exploited that matchup again and again. All night long, Curry hit high degree-of-difficulty stepbacks and floaters, while also working his way to the foul line. This season has often been about getting Seth to shoot the ball more, an odd request for one of the best shooters in the league. Tonight he felt more empowered to do so, helping carry this Sixers offense at this critical juncture of the season.

Tyrese Maxey: 13 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 0 turnovers

NBA: Washington Wizards at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Maxey was probably behind a few guys in regard to actual reasons the Sixers won this game, but spiritually, the rookie owned this game like no other player. The phrase “not afraid of the moment” was created for Tyrese Maxey. For a stretch in the first half, it was the rookie trading blows with Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook. He rained in pull-up jumpers and fearlessly attacked the Washington big men at the rim. One dunk attempt where he was fouled should actually have been an and-one because Anthony Gill deflected the ball by reaching up through the rim. Maxey also showcased his playmaking ability, chipping in a terrific alley-oop to Dwight Howard and a smooth pocket pass to a cutting Furkan Korkmaz. Basically, you haven’t witnessed pure joy until you’ve seen this 20-year-old bouncing up and down after converting a gorgeous running scoop shot in the playoffs.

Ben Simmons: 19 points, 10 points, 11 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 4 turnovers

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

After criticism both deserved and undeserved following the Game 4 loss, Simmons stepped up with his third career playoff triple-double, second to only Wilt Chamberlain (8) in franchise history. He halted the Hack-a-Ben in the first half by making three of four free throws across two possessions. More importantly, though, he picked his spots to be aggressive offensively. Ben took advantage of his speed advantage over Daniel Gafford, twice driving past him for buckets. Later, he noticed Ish Smith switched onto him, and attacked the paint for two points. Add in the outstanding defense, playmaking, and terror-inducing transition game, and Ben was the all-around dominant force tonight we know he’s capable of being.

Tobias Harris: 28 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, 1 block, 0 turnovers

2021 NBA Playoffs - Washington Wizards v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

After the Game 4 blip, Harris returned to torching the Wizards. He was far too quick for Gafford, and abused Rui Hachimura with pull-ups and floaters coming off screens. In addition to getting to the foul line 10 times, Tobias also made some really high-level passes, finding Simmons twice under the basket out of double teams in the fourth quarter. On the defensive end, his steal in transition and find ahead to Ben Simmons to make it 82-78 was one of the big turning points of the game. It was an outstanding all-around effort from Tobi, who was asked to do even more than usual and answered the call.

Dwight Howard: 12 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks, 1 turnover

2021 NBA Playoffs - Washington Wizards v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

The small-ball narrative doesn’t fit completely cleanly, because Dwight Howard had a strong performance off the bench. The big man bounced back from a dreadful Game 4 effort, looking lively around the rim with three blocks, crashing the glass for four offensive rebounds, and drawing plenty of fouls (and having a nice 8-of-10 line at the charity stripe). Dwight looked bouncy out there, and he’s on the short list for players you would imagine are most energized by the full-capacity Wells Fargo Center crowd. Whether or not Joel comes back soon, the Sixers need this version of Howard.

Poll

Who is the Bell Ringer in the Game 5 win over Washington?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    Seth Curry
    (1420 votes)
  • 4%
    Tyrese Maxey
    (182 votes)
  • 57%
    Ben Simmons
    (2387 votes)
  • 3%
    Tobias Harris
    (142 votes)
  • 0%
    Dwight Howard
    (30 votes)
4161 votes total Vote Now