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Sixers Bell Ringer: No winning streak for defense-less Sixers

Some strong offensive performances for Philadelphia couldn’t overcome what was a lifeless defensive effort.

Philadelphia 76ers v Toronto Raptors Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images

Sixers regular season Bell Ringer standings:
James Harden - 3
Joel Embiid - 1

The Philadelphia 76ers were unable to capture their first two-game winning streak of the season, losing, 119-109 to the Toronto Raptors. While the Sixers 50.6 percent from the field, including 44.4 percent from three, their defense was absolutely ripped to shreds by the Raptors like Robert Muldoon. Well, that’s not exactly true, as that would imply the Sixers attempted to offer some resistance, which was not the case with Toronto finding gaps to the basket, open three-point shots, and easy transition opportunities galore against a listless Philadelphia defense. Let’s get to Bell Ringer and highlight some of the satisfactory offensive performances on the evening.

Joel Embiid: 31 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 turnovers

Philadelphia 76ers v Toronto Raptors Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images

On Wednesday night, Joel was about as good as we’ve seen him against a Toronto Raptors team that used to give him fits. He came out of the gate on fire, hitting his first five shots and finishing with 11 points in the first quarter. Embiid scored in a multitude of ways, hitting outside jumpers, ripping through a double team and powering to the rim, establishing deep post position and a seal for an easy two, or cutting down the lane for a hammer dunk off a James Harden feed. All night long, Embiid read the double teams wisely and picked his spots, finishing a sparkling 12-of-17 from the field. There were stretches when Joel would take over the game with his scoring, and you would think “If they could only string some stops together...” Alas, the stops never came, with Joel as much to blame as anyone, and a strong offensive outing from the big man was wasted.

Tyrese Maxey: 31 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 4 turnovers

Philadelphia 76ers v Toronto Raptors Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images

Tyrese Maxey often looks like he’s playing at a different speed, but against a long, athletic Raptors bunch, it’s incredibly impressive how he still manages to get to the rim and finish by kicking it into warp speed. Tyrese scored on all three levels, shooting 4-of-8 from downtown, finishing at the rim in the half court and transition, and also drawing a couple fouls by bullying into defenders (thanks, James Harden finishing school). I’m not sure how defenses can be expected to guard him, especially as his distribution skills continue to grow (six assists tonight). Maxey remains a joy to watch, which is saying something on a team in which the viewing experience has largely been a state of drudgery this season.

James Harden: 18 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists, 1 block, 3 turnovers

Philadelphia 76ers v Toronto Raptors Photo by Vaughn Ridley/NBAE via Getty Images

It was a quieter scoring night for Harden, although he did knock down a trio of triples and draw a handful of fouls early in the game, both as a driver and on his signature stepback three. But I was most impressed by his work as a passer tonight. James threw some beautiful over-the-top post entry passes to Embiid to set the star center up for easy buckets. Joel must be dying from shock when he actually has someone get him the ball on some of his seals. The Beard also hit both Embiid and Montrezl Harrell perfectly on the roll in the first half. While not much is going right for the Sixers across this first week-plus of the regular season, you have to continue to be encouraged by the rejuvenated look from Harden.

De’Anthony Melton: 12 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, 0 turnovers

Philadelphia 76ers v Toronto Raptors Photo by Vaughn Ridley/NBAE via Getty Images

Melton was the rare Sixer tonight who actually had some juice on the defensive end of the court, jetting around and creating splash plays leading to fast break opportunities for Philadelphia. The defense would have been enough to get him on the list, given the gap between his effort and that of many of his teammates, but he was also solid on the offensive end of the court. Melton sank a pair of threes and dished out five assists, including a very nice drive-and-kick to the corner for a Danuel House Jr. three-pointer. I’m not sure exactly what adjustments Doc Rivers should make going forward because the team’s problems are so wide-ranging, but giving Melton more minutes might be one of them.


Who is the Sixers’ Bell Ringer against Toronto?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    Joel Embiid
    (82 votes)
  • 58%
    Tyrese Maxey
    (246 votes)
  • 3%
    James Harden
    (14 votes)
  • 18%
    De’Anthony Melton
    (76 votes)
418 votes total Vote Now

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