Sixers regular season Bell Ringer standings:
Joel Embiid- 10
James Harden- 8
Shake Milton- 4
Tobias Harris- 4
Tyrese Maxey- 3
Paul Reed- 2
De’Anthony Melton- 1
Georges Niang- 1
The Sixers fell 127-116 to the New Orleans Pelicans for their second loss in a row.
Tell me if you’ve heard this one before. The Sixers started out strong early, jumping out to a lead before running an all-bench unit and allowing their opponents, led by Zion Williamson, to come from behind to take the lead before heading into the second.
The good news from the first? Tyrese Maxey checked in for the Sixers for the first time since mid-November and Joel Embiid continues to look locked in during the month of December, scoring 15 in the first. That’s about it.
The second didn’t get much better for the Sixers. The Pelicans were able to extend their lead with the help of CJ McCollum sinking just about everything from beyond the arc and Williamson driving in for easy layups and drawing trips to the free throw line. Despite being down by 17 at one point in the second, the Sixers narrowed the gap to seven headed into the locker room for halftime.
The Sixers kept it close for the third, with Embiid playing bully ball to help keep the visitors from slipping too far behind. McCollum remained hot for the Pels, continuing to sink threes with ease, and Williamson controlled the paint on offense. For the third, it really was just the two teams trading baskets, neither team could find the foothold to go on any sort of run.
The stage was set for another close, contested finish for the Sixers. They really never make it easy.
The Sixers continued to hang within ten points of the Pelicans for most of the fourth but could never seem to make the necessary stops to get going on a run. The defense just wasn’t there. It didn’t seem to matter who the Sixers put on Williamson or McCollum, the two just continued to scorch the Sixers until the final whistle, leading the Pelicans to victory.
For the second game in a row, the Sixers Bell Ringer is a two-horse race. No one else from the squad stepped up in any meaningful way. So let’s get right to it.
Joel Embiid: 37 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 5 turnovers
Joel Embiid immediately went to work on offense early, even paired against 7-foot Jonas Valanciunas, scoring 15 in the first on 6-of-7 shooting. In the second and beyond, the big man had to step up to try to make up for the mistakes made by the bench unit. Embiid added five in the second and scored 10 of the Sixers’ first 13 points in the second half through some good bully ball. Continued aggression in the paint was awarded with a number of trips to the foul line, drawing a number of fouls on Valanciunas. The big man had a hot hand tonight, shooting 64 percent from the floor with eight free throws to make up his 37 points. That’s not to say he didn’t have his sloppy moments, coughing up five turnovers. As far as defensive effort from the big man, Embiid snagged a steal for a scoop-and-score and put up a block.
James Harden: 20 points, 1 rebound, 10 assists, 7 turnovers
Harden was scoreless in the first frame but tallied five assists early, continuing his dominant partnership with Embiid. Harden began to heat up himself in the second with the Sixers fighting a double-digit deficit, shooting 4-for-4 from the floor including 3-for-3 from beyond the arc to help keep the Sixers within shouting distance. His 20 points came from shooting 5-of-8 from the floor and a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line. He also put up yet another double-digit assist performance with 10 dimes in this one. Harden’s passing was far from flawless tonight, however, with the guard racking up five turnovers in the first half alone and seven turnovers total on a number of misplaced short passes.
Who is the Bell Ringer for the Sixers’ loss to the Pelicans?
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