Sixers regular season Bell Ringer standings:
Joel Embiid- 9
James Harden- 7
Shake Milton- 4
Tobias Harris- 4
Tyrese Maxey- 3
Paul Reed- 2
De’Anthony Melton- 1
Georges Niang- 1
The Sixers looked flat from the tip-off on Christmas Day before coming away with a 119-112 win.
Sloppy turnovers and a lack of rebounding for the visitors gave the New York Knicks opportunities to take the lead from the jump and hold it. The Sixers’ offensive woes early started with Joel Embiid struggling to find his shot, missing a number of midrange jumpers in the first, and turning over the ball twice in the first half. In fact, the only Sixer that was able to do much at all in the first half was D’Anthony Melton, who shot 4 for 4 from beyond the arc going into halftime. Despite Julius Randle’s impressive 25-point first half, the Sixers were able to keep the deficit in the single digits at the break.
A back-and-fourth third led to just a one-point lead for the Knicks headed into the final frame. The Sixers were finally able to even the score early in the fourth, and Georges Niang hit a three to give the Sixers their first lead of the afternoon with just over ten minutes left to play.
Finally, the visitors were able to gain some control and momentum, extending the league to 14 at one point in the fourth. Thanks to the hot hands of James Harden and Niang from long range, the Sixers were able to hold on to pick up their eighth straight victory.
Let’s take a look at who’s to thank for the Sixers good holiday fortune.
Joel Embiid: 35 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 turnovers
The big man struggled early in this one, shooting 3 for 9 from the floor in the first half and turning the ball over twice early. Despite this, thanks to numerous trips to the line as the half came to a close, Embiid led the Sixers at half with 15 points. In the third, Embiid remained aggressive and continued to draw fouls, racking up 15 free throw attempts before the fourth quarter even began. He remained physical in the fourth, and continued to score despite no trips to the line in the final frame. Embiid finished the holiday outing with 35 points, eight boards and an assist.
James Harden: 29 points, 4 rebounds, 13 assists, 4 steals, 1 block
Well, it wasn’t quite the 21-assist triple-double from Friday night, but Harden continued to step up for the Sixers on Christmas Day. In the first half, Harden wasn’t shooting too hot from the floor, but was remaining aggressive and drew fouls to accumulate some points. In the second half, Harden really started cooking, and began sinking deep threes with ease. He also continued to be a successful facilitator for the rest of the Sixers’ offense, notching 13 assists. Defensively, Harden led the team with 4 steals.
De’Anthony Melton: 15 points (5 of 7 from three), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 turnover
Melton was just about the only positive for the Sixers offensively in the first half. The guard was a perfect 4 for 4 from beyond the arc going into the break. He sunk another three-pointer in the third quarter to remain perfect from the floor. Melton continues to be a defensive asset for the Sixers, snagging an important steal in the middle of the fourth to help the Sixers extend their lead. Melton finished with 15 points, all from beyond the arc, three rebounds and an assist.
Georges Niang: 16 points (4 of 9 from three), 2 rebounds
Niang deserves a quick shout out as a late-game hero in this one. The Mini-Van sank a three that gave the Sixers their first lead of the contest in the fourth quarter, and he kept firing them off from there. Niang hit four threes in the fourth, helping the Sixers extend and hold their lead until the final whistle.
Who is the Bell Ringer in the Sixers’ victory over the Knicks?
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