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Sixers Bell Ringer: James Harden’s season-high 17 assists pace Philly past Washington

Tyrese Maxey scored 28 points to join his backcourt mate and the Sixers moved to 4-4 on the young season.

Philadelphia 76ers v Washington Wizards Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Sixers regular season Bell Ringer standings:

James Harden - 3

Tyrese Maxey- 2

Joel Embiid - 2

Don’t look now, but the Philadelphia 76ers are proud owners of the NBA’s fourth-longest win streak at three games after defeating the Washington Wizards, 118-111, on Monday night. James Harden tallied 23 points and a season-high 17 assists to keep the offense humming; in fact, his 17 assists are the most by any player in a game this season. Tyrese Maxey dominated the final three quarters behind 28 points on 12-of-22 shooting. De’Anthony Melton caused defensive havoc all game and thrived as a connective offensive option. Joel Embiid sat out due to a non-COVID illness. It’s time to talk Bell Ringer. Let’s get to it.

James Harden: 23 points, 17 assists, two steals

Washington elected to play loads of drop coverage or conservative traps against Harden in the first quarter, so he picked those tactics apart as both a scorer and playmaker en route to a 15-point, six-dime opening frame. In the following three quarters, they aggressively trapped or sent late doubles on his drives, and he promptly continued to prime his teammates.

He formed a dynamite chemistry with P.J. Tucker and De’Anthony Melton, the latter of whom consistently thrived on the roll alongside his All-Star point guard. His facilitating has flourished ever since he arrived in Philadelphia and his pacing in ball-screens is exquisite, two traits he wielded in this one. After a rough game Saturday against the Chicago Bulls, Harden bounced back for a stellar outing.

Tyrese Maxey: 28 points, three assists, three rebounds, one steal

While Harden carried the load in the first quarter, Maxey took the baton from his buddy in the second quarter. He scored Philadelphia’s initial nine points of the period and 11 of its 22 overall in the quarter. Whether it was transition chances, pull-up jumpers or creative finishes around the rim, Maxey consistently posed problems for the Wizards, who couldn’t match or contain his speed.

The fourth quarter, much like the third, proved to be a favorable one, as he scored or assisted on 17 of the Sixers’ 32 points. He’s just an absolute dynamo in space, seems to be growing as a half-court creator and can thrive on or off the ball. Monday was yet another tremendous game for the 21-year-old, punctuated by this logo-range triple.

De’Anthony Melton: 16 points, two rebounds, two steals, one assist

The third member of Philadelphia’s three-guard starting lineup, Melton provided vital contributions on both ends. His 16 points marked a season-high. In both games Joel Embiid has missed, the Sixers have opted to deploy Melton as a screener for Harden, with Toronto and Washington looking to coax the ball out of The Beard’s hands. Melton’s excelled in these spots, and it was especially the case Monday. He finished effectively around the basket and made heady reads if a shot wasn’t available to him.

Somehow, the box score only credited him with two steals, but Melton’s fingerprints were dusted across defensive possession after defensive possession. He racked up a handful of deflections and hounded ball-handlers on drives and the perimeter. The dude was a constant irritant and paired that stout, pesky defense with a nifty, multifaceted offensive performance.


Who is Monday’s Bell Ringer against the Wizards?

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    James Harden
    (447 votes)
  • 22%
    Tyrese Maxey
    (144 votes)
  • 8%
    De’Anthony Melton
    (55 votes)
646 votes total Vote Now

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