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Sixers Bell Ringer: Joel Embiid’s 48 points not enough, Wizards snap Philadelphia’s 8-game winning streak

Not the way the Sixers wanted to follow up their Christmas Day victory.

Philadelphia 76ers v Washington Wizards Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Sixers regular season Bell Ringer standings:

Joel Embiid- 9

James Harden- 8

Shake Milton- 4

Tobias Harris- 4

Tyrese Maxey- 3

Paul Reed- 2

De’Anthony Melton- 1

Georges Niang- 1

Over their last two games — a pair of victories — the Philadelphia 76ers had fancied themselves somewhat of the comeback kids. They tried to keep that label going Tuesday, but fell short in their rally, losing, 116-111, to the Washington Wizards. Their eight-game winning streak is a thing of the past. Joel Embiid dropped 48 points. James Harden added 26 points and 13 assists. Nobody else really stepped up. It’s time to talk Bell Ringer. Let’s get to it.

Joel Embiid: 48 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks, three steals, one assist

Facing a frontline composed of Kristaps Porzingis, Daniel Gafford and Taj Gibson, Embiid quickly made clear they were in for a tough go defensively. Bullying his way to buckets and free throws, he scored 16 points in the first quarter. By night’s end, Gafford and Gibson combined for nine fouls in 33 minutes. Porzingis largely avoided the primary assignment on Embiid, hence his meager two fouls. Throughout the game, Embiid cooked from midrange and at the rim, applying his blend of strength and quickness to thrive. In the second half, he ferociously attacked the glass a few times for second chance opportunities.

Defensively, it was a lackluster first half team-wide, Embiid included. Various Wizards repeatedly bested him for boards and he seemed late on some contests. But after halftime, he led a resurgent effort from the Sixers, locking down the paint, altering shots inside and deterring drives. Nobody else aided his two-way exploits for long stretches, so his high-level outing came in a loss. Nonetheless, the 28-year-old big man was tremendous. Forty-eight points on 62.9 percent true shooting and fearsome interior defense in the second half merged for quite the showing, despite Philadelphia’s collective struggles.

James Harden: 26 points, 13 assists, three steals, one block

Embiid’s third quarter defensive performance helped Philadelphia trim the lead to three before he exited late in the period. Washington promptly kickstarted an 8-0 run after that. From there, Harden scored or assisted on eight straight points to bring the Sixers back. Another dime to Montrezl Harrell produced two points (he missed the first attempt, so Harden didn’t get an assist) and two more slick layups trimmed the deficit to two. This was Harden’s finest stretch of the game and resembled his fourth-quarter surge on Sunday against the New York Knicks.

His 10 free throw attempts (10-of-10 shooting) marked just the fourth time this season he’s tallied double-digit foul shots. He also finished at the rim better than we’ve seen in a while, unafraid to absorb contact and looking more spry than usual. The Beard, even with his bouts of passive scoring, seems to be in a good groove since returning three weeks ago. He and Embiid are playing excellent ball.

Tuesday’s Bell Ringer is a two-horse race in my eyes. If other candidates were also deserving, give me an earful in the comments!


Who is the Sixers’ Bell Ringer in the loss to the Wizards?

This poll is closed

  • 82%
    Joel Embiid
    (297 votes)
  • 17%
    James Harden
    (61 votes)
358 votes total Vote Now

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