Sixers regular season Bell Ringer standings:
James Harden - 4
Tyrese Maxey- 3
Joel Embiid - 2
Tobias Harris - 1
Hoping to snap a two-game skid, the Philadelphia 76ers welcomed the West-leading Phoenix Suns to town on Monday night. Philadelphia, short James Harden for the next month or so, righted the ship with a 100-88 victory. Due to heel soreness, Chris Paul exited late in the first half and never returned, while Cam Johnson is already out with a torn meniscus. Deandre Ayton also briefly went to the locker room. Regardless, the Sixers turned in their best defensive performance of the young season. Joel Embiid was superb. Georges Niang provided timely triples. Tobias Harris was a critical secondary scorer. It’s time to talk Bell Ringer. Let’s get to it.
Georges Niang: 21 points, four rebounds, two steals, one assist
Going 7-of-10 from deep, the veteran sharpshooter drilled seven of Philadelphia’s 12 made threes. The rest of the team shot 5-of-22 beyond the arc. Tobias Harris (3-of-7) was the lone other Sixer to drill more than one. With Phoenix aiming to complete a double-digit comeback, Niang buried numerous long balls in the second half to keep the shorthanded Suns at bay against the shorthanded Sixers.
The Minivan proved to be the most effective release valve when the defense sent extra attention Joel Embiid’s direction, comfortable immediately firing off the catch with only a sliver of space. His seven long balls tied a career-high. Four of them came in the first 6.5 minutes of the final frame. He was huge in propping up a Sixers offense that lacked juice after a 33-point first quarter.
Joel Embiid: 33 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, one block
Returning to the floor for the first time since Oct. 29, Embiid produced his most impressive game of the season. He executed a slew of prompt interior rotations defensively, hedged and switched well in ball-screens, and thrived as a face-up hub. Much of his offensive usage resembled early 2021-22, when he predominantly worked above the break rather than the left block as a post scorer. He routinely applied pressure on the Suns and set up Niang for a handful of his triples.
When the offense grew stagnant for long stretches of the second half, Embiid’s shot-making and foul-drawing bailed Philadelphia out. Although he went just 8-of-21 from the floor, he paraded to the free-throw line for a 16-of-16 night at the charity stripe. This was the dude who nearly won MVP last season, and the Sixers needed it to snap their cold spell. He was excellent.
Tobias Harris: 21 points, eight rebounds, six assists, one steal
Despite somewhat sputtering after intermission, Harris’ 11 first-quarter points were instrumental in Philadelphia jumping out to an early double-digit lead. Throughout the first half, he rocked as a scorer in the mid-post, burned Mikal Bridges on a back cut for a bucket and splashed home two long balls. Phoenix turned up the pressure on his touches following the break to complicate matters, but he still added six points and a few nifty passing reads. With Tyrese Maxey scuffling (4-of-18 shooting) and Harden sidelined, Harris’ 21 points were vital.
Who is Monday’s Bell Ringer against the Suns?
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