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Sixers Bell Ringer: Sixers blow early lead in home loss to Nuggets

Denver Nuggets v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Sixers Bell Ringer regular season standings:

Joel Embiid: 28
Tyrese Maxey: 15
Seth Curry: 8
Tobias Harris: 5
Andre Drummond: 3
James Harden: 2
Matisse Thybulle: 2
Furkan Korkmaz: 1
Charles Bassey: 1
Paul Millsap: 1

In a battle of MVP frontrunners, Joel Embiid’s Philadelphia 76ers shook off the travel fatigue and bucked their recent trend of poor starts with a strong first quarter against Nikola Jokic’s Denver Nuggets. The Sixers led 37-22 after one, but Denver then ended the half on an 18-4 run to close within five at the break, before quickly regaining the lead early in the second half. In the fourth quarter, it wasn’t the MVP candidates, so much as rookie Bones Hyland stealing the show. Hyland scored 12 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, knocking down some very long threes. Georges Niang’s potential game-tying three-point attempt in the closing seconds was off the mark, and the Sixers fell to the Nuggets in disappointing fashion, 114-110. On to Bell Ringer.

Joel Embiid: 34 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 5 turnovers

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Embiid came out of the gates tonight firing, and for all the praise he can heap on Nikola Jokic in press conferences, you could tell he wanted to have a good showing tonight. And he did! Embiid clearly won the on-court minutes against Jokic, as he had his outside shot working tonight (3-of-3 from three), and was able to blow by the reigning MVP off the bounce. He was a little sloppy with his dribble, which led to a couple turnovers, and the refs gave him a rough whistle, which caused him to have to sit out a couple more minutes than usual with foul trouble. Still, despite the team loss, a neutral observer had to consider Embiid the winner of the MVP matchup.

Matisse Thybulle: 9 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 6 steals, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers

Denver Nuggets v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Tonight’s first quarter was the peak Matisse Thybulle experience. He had four steals in the opening period alone, and all nine of his points came in the frame, as Thybulle made some nice cuts and even hit an open corner three at the end of the shot clock. The cross-court passes which are a cornerstone of the Nuggets’ offense were all getting snatched up by Matisse, as he was able to play free safety rather than have to chase some lead guard around. There were long sequences where Thybulle looked to playing with a different energy than everyone else on the court.

James Harden: 24 points, 9 rebounds, 11 assists, 1 block, 4 turnovers

Denver Nuggets v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Harden is still in a bit of a shooting funk, but with the Nuggets opting to send multiple defenders at him more often than not, he expertly jump-started the offense with his passing tonight. It’s so nice to have a player capable of sliding in a pocket pass or finding a cutter through traffic. James had looked lethargic a couple games ago versus the Nets on this court, but he definitely played with some energy tonight, diving on the floor for a loose ball early in the first quarter, and later recording a close-out block. Harden still contributed in the scoring department, getting to the free throw line a ton for the second game in a row, finishing 11-of-12. He should have had at least two more, getting hauled down by Aaron Gordon on the fast break to no whistle.

Poll

Who is the Bell Ringer in the loss to Denver?

This poll is closed

  • 61%
    Joel Embiid
    (418 votes)
  • 33%
    Matisse Thybulle
    (231 votes)
  • 4%
    James Harden
    (34 votes)
683 votes total Vote Now