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Playoff Bell Ringer: Sixers go out with a whimper in Game 7 loss to the Hawks

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Awful

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

Sixers Bell Ringer playoff standings:

Ben Simmons - 4
Joel Embiid - 3
Tobias Harris - 1
George Hill - 1
Seth Curry - 1
Tyrese Maxey - 1

It’s over. The number-one seed. Home-court advantage. The MVP runner-up. All of it was for the naught as the Sixers lost their third home game of the series to the Atlanta Hawks. Trae Young shot just 5-of-23 from the field, but Kevin Huerter stepped up for 27 points on 10-of-18 shooting. The game was up-and-down throughout, but Philadelphia had a four-point lead with under seven minutes left in the game. Over the next few minutes, Trae finally connected on a couple shots and Atlanta pulled ahead by a bucket, leading to the play that will be discussed ad infinitum when the name Ben Simmons is mentioned in Philadelphia.

Ben Simmons, wide-open under the basket, with only 180-pounds-soaking-wet Trae Young rushing over to protect the rim, passing up on a dunk to shovel a pass to Matisse Thybulle (who was fouled and went 1-of-2 at the line).

It was the fourth straight game that Simmons did not attempt a field goal in the fourth quarter. Of course, that play wasn’t the be-all, end-all of the game. The Sixers were down one with a minute left, when Thybulle made the mental error to foul Huerter on a 3-point attempt (not the first bad foul-on-a-jump-shooter for Matisse this series). Then, down four, Joel Embiid lost control of his dribble for his eighth turnover of the game, leading to a run-out dunk by Danilo Gallinari to basically put the game away. Atlanta hit 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to cement the 103-96 win.

Philadelphia spent the final minute with Simmons on the sidelines (because, you know, they needed guys on the court willing to shoot), and it’s entirely possible we’ve seen the last of Ben in a Sixers uniform. But we have all offseason to speculate, an offseason that is suddenly much longer than it should have been. I know we’re all angry, but let’s get to our final Bell Ringer of the 2020-21 season.

(The season is over and everyone’s furious twist for this final Bell Ringer: even the “good” performances had bad performances associated with them. These are mentioned.)

Seth Curry: 16 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover

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

Good: As has been the case for much of the series, Seth was the most efficient source of offense for the Sixers. He didn’t hit six 3s again, but 3-of-5 from behind the arc is still plenty helpful. Curry also made one great defensive play where he read Trae Young perfectly to draw a charge against the Hawks star in transition.

Bad: Sixers fans had JJ Redick against Boston flashbacks with the Hawks hunting Seth defensively every chance they got in the second half. It wasn’t that Curry wasn’t giving it his best effort, but the 6-foot-7 Huerter nailing jumper over jumper over him got real old, real fast.

Joel Embiid: 31 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 8 turnovers

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

Good: Love Joel to death, obviously, for playing through the torn meniscus this postseason, and he put up 31 points on 21 field goal attempts. Far from terrible. Embiid scored the team’s first seven points to start the fourth quarter, helping the Sixers retake the lead. It was a stretch where you really started to believe the MVP was strapping this dysfunctional team on his back and carrying them across the finish line.

Bad: Eight turnovers. Gag. Embiid had some real clunkers: one of the Sixers’ many passes to no one in transition that Atlanta grabbed and took the other way for easy points; a lazy cross-court pass that Lou Williams easily read and pick-sixed for a dunk; the final fumbling away of the game. Embiid should have been afforded a higher margin of error by his teammates, but he wasn’t, and he needed to be better tonight.

Tobias Harris: 24 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers

2021 NBA Playoffs - Atlanta Hawks v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

Good: You can’t say Tobias was afraid of the moment. He was in attack mode all night, getting up 24 shots and coming up with some big buckets for this team, chipping in seven points in the final quarter. Harris also attacked the glass on both ends every time down like a man possessed. Tobi getting angry and yelling after scoring in the fourth was one of the rare moments of outward emotion on the court for him; there’s no doubt he wanted this one.

Bad: It’s great that Tobi was willing to take the shots, but he needed to make more of them. Harris finished 8-of-24 from the field, and a lot of them were missed bunnies around the rim where you wanted to throw the remote at the screen and yell, “How could you miss that?” Doc Rivers put Tobias in a position to fail by still having him out there propping up a full bench unit, even in a Game 7, but Harris has still had much better shooting nights.

Poll

Who is the Bell Ringer in the Game 7 loss to Atlanta?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    Seth Curry
    (322 votes)
  • 57%
    Joel Embiid
    (665 votes)
  • 14%
    Tobias Harris
    (162 votes)
1149 votes total Vote Now