Sixers regular season Bell Ringer standings:
Joel Embiid - 5
James Harden - 4
Tyrese Maxey- 3
Tobias Harris - 1
Georges Niang - 1
The Milwaukee Bucks won their season opener right here in Wells Fargo Center by two points. So the Sixers were coming into this one riding high off the 59-point performance of Joel Embiid and looking for some vengeance vs. the Deer. The game intensified in the second half but, we’ll be honest, it was hard to think about the game in the same way we normally would while we wonder about Tyrese Maxey’s pending left foot MRI.
The Sixers really had no business being so competitive in this one, and I was fully prepared for some moral victory sound bytes from the beat or optimistic fans. Instead, the Sixers gutted out a monster victory.
Two words: Joel Embiid.
Let’s get to tonight’s Bell Ringer.
Joel Embiid: 32 points, 3 blocks, 11 rebounds, 8 assists, 12 of 26 from the floor
With James Harden still out, Furkan Korkaz on the shelf, Tobias Harris now dealing with a sore hip, and a terrifying in-game injury to Tyrese Maxey, Embiid had the weight of Philadelphia, Brook Lopez, Bobby Portis and one Greek Freak on his shoulders for this one.
That allowed Mike Budenholzer’s well-coached unit to key on him anytime he looked for a favorable spot. Brook Lopez has defended Embiid so well this season. And Milwaukee tempts him into taking lots of midrange shots they’re clearly willing to live with him shooting.
But in the end, they were no match for big No. 21. Joel erupted late, taking it right to Lopez for some bully ball, and followed it up with a pair of pretty and clutch mid-rangers.
He was making the right read most of the night and it showed, as he matched a season high eight dimes. He’s done that now in back-to-back games, clearly looking to find his shooters lately. Playmaking and defensive beast JoJo is easily my favorite version of the perennial MVP candidate. But it was the getting buckets that also sparked this win.
Defensively, Embiid looked like every bit the anchor in the first half. But again, he had his work cut out for him. Giannis was coming and so was Bobby Portis. But the rim is often his.
Embiid with the huge block on Giannis pic.twitter.com/YSe8fG3dgZ— Michael K-B (@therealmikekb) November 19, 2022
Joel took a hard foul on Giannis in transition, and it seemed like he might have gotten himself ejected, but the officials didn’t think the force was excessive so he got to continue on. And that was the game clincher. Joel just kept pouring it on.
Tyrese Maxey: 24 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds,
Tyrese Maxey had been in a pretty big slump, dating back to James Harden’s now six-game absence. But he came out the gates looking to eradicate those struggles as he blitzed the Bucks, wracking up 24 first-half points. Dude finished with a very respectable full game line in just 21 first-half minutes, and he had to leave early.
Maxey would hurt his foot, then limp up into the stands, and then off to the locker room. We’d learn he was ruled out, his X-rays negative (thank goodness) and he’ll receive an MRI tomorrow.
We can only hold our breath and pray. Holy mackerel do we love Tyrese Maxey. Prayer circle up, folks.
Georges Niang: 17 points, 3 rebounds, 4-8 from three
With the Sixers in some dire straits, Georges Niang stepped his game up. He had a clutch and-one finish in the fourth quarter on a sweet lefty floater after absorbing contact, and hit some familiar triples too. Opposing teams seem to know that when Shake Milton, Niang and Paul Reed are out there, they can just absolutely start steamrolling, and initiating contact and they’re going to get the calls. But Niang hung tough and the bench points certainly helped in this one.
Who is the Bell Ringer vs. Bucks?
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