Sixers regular season Bell Ringer standings:
Joel Embiid- 7
James Harden- 4
Shake Milton- 4
Tyrese Maxey- 3
Paul Reed- 2
Tobias Harris- 1
Georges Niang- 1
While the Sixers showed way more fight Friday than they did Wednesday, it was still too little too late in a 117-109 loss to the Grizzlies. The two areas the Sixers have struggled with this season are rebounding and transition defense. Unfortunately, those are two areas Memphis flourishes, as the Grizzlies won on the glass (63-50) and on the break (24-9).
Let’s talk Bell Ringer.
Joel Embiid: 35 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 blocks
It was a weird night for Embiid. He was mostly really, really good, putting up 35 points against one of the strongest and toughest dudes in the league in Steven Adams (and one of the best defensive roamers in Jaren Jackson, Jr.). He continued to make good decisions as a playmaker with eight assists to three turnovers. He was a +9 and spearheaded the team’s late push.
There was just one brutal stretch in the third quarter where he was plain outworked by Adams. A particularly bad sequence occurred when Adams outmuscled Embiid for a pair of offensive rebounds that led to back-to-back Memphis threes. It’s inexcusable. Can’t happen.
But the reality is this game was lost mostly during the Paul Reed run in the first half. When Embiid went to the bench, the Grizzlies went on a 20-4 run. The Sixers never really recovered. Reed has been awesome during this recent stretch, but it was a tough night against a strong opponent.
Tobias Harris: 21 points (5 of 6 from three), 11 rebounds
Harris continued his strong recent play with another good offensive performance. He made his first five attempts from three and played aggressive and decisive for most of the night. Really he was the only player that provided decent complementary scoring to Embiid.
He also had a nasty dunk on Jackson:
All of this and Harris was questionable with an illness coming in after he missed the second half Wednesday. Harris is also playing through multiple injuries. Say what you want about him, the guy is a gamer and plays through a lot.
De’Anthony Melton: 13 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block
We unfortunately didn’t get a Melton revenge game, but he still should be recognized for his defensive work against his former team. Despite the loss, the Sixers managed to hold likely MVP candidate Ja Morant to 10 of 28 from the field. After the Melton-Embiid duo did not have a banner night defensively in Cleveland, it was good to see them bounce back a bit against a scorer like Morant and a screener as tough as Adams.
While Melton and Shake Milton have filled in admirably while James Harden and Tyrese Maxey have been out, a good defensive team like Memphis does highlight their deficiencies in trying to run the offense for long stretches.
Who is the Bell Ringer for Friday’s loss to the Grizzlies?
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