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Sixers Bell Ringer: Sixers lose game and potential tiebreaker to Bucks in nailbiter

Fun game, not a fun final result

Milwaukee Bucks v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Sixers Bell Ringer regular season standings:

Joel Embiid: 32
Tyrese Maxey: 16
Seth Curry: 8
Tobias Harris: 6
Andre Drummond: 3
Matisse Thybulle: 3
James Harden: 3
Furkan Korkmaz: 1
Charles Bassey: 1
Paul Millsap: 1

In a game with real playoff intensity, the Sixers got off to a slow start, going close to five minutes in the first quarter without scoring, but hung around and then surged ahead with a 37-point second quarter. However, the game turned around early in the fourth quarter when Giannis Antetokounmpo helped Milwaukee retake the lead via a double-digit run with both Joel Embiid and James Harden on the bench. The last few minutes of the contest saw terrific shot-making by both sides, and the outcome came down to a game-winning block by Giannis on Embiid with seconds remaining. The reigning MVP bested the current MVP hopeful, as Giannis finished with 40 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, and 3 blocks. The Bucks won, 118-116, and will now have the tiebreaker if these teams finished the regular season tied. Let’s go to Bell Ringer.

James Harden: 32 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists, 1 block, 2 turnovers

Milwaukee Bucks v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Tonight’s 32 points were a high for Harden in a Sixers uniform, as he adopted the scoring mentality we haven’t seen as much of from him since coming over from Brooklyn. His stepback three game was working, hitting multiple of those as part of his overall 4-of-10 night from behind the arc. Harden also attacked mismatches whenever they were presented to him, getting into the lane and finishing with a couple pretty floaters or getting all the way to the rack to draw contact. The Beard ended up with a 10-of-12 line from the charity stripe, but it came as a result of being aggressive as a scorer, not because he was looking to get a whistle for the sake of getting a whistle, like we’ve seen in some games. Tonight was the version of Harden that makes the Sixers a true contender.

Joel Embiid: 29 points, 14 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 4 turnovers

Milwaukee Bucks v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Sadly, I feel like Joel might have lost the MVP race tonight, which in some ways is crazy, because he was very good. But he started off 1-of-8 from the field, and Giannis clearly had the better game, plus the signature play to secure the victory. And it was the last game for the Sixers against a premiere opponent, so there were a lot of narrative points assigned to tonight’s performance. Still, Embiid was excellent after the rough shooting start! His passing was terrific up until the awful turnover in the final minute. His cross-court pass to Danny Green in the corner was something Joel wouldn’t have dreamed of doing a couple years ago. He scored 27 of his 29 points in the final three quarters, and hit some huge shots in the fourth to try to will this team to victory. Alas, it wasn’t quite enough on a night the two-time MVP was at the top of his game.

Tobias Harris: 22 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, 0 turnovers

Milwaukee Bucks v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Although the loss is disappointing, another positive Sixers fans can come away from this game with is Tobias Harris continuing to figure things out in his new role. His 19 field goal attempts were a high for Harris in a game alongside Harden, and all of them were shots you want him taking. Either quick-trigger threes (he attempted eight in total), or decisive drives to the basket where he either got to the rack or created enough separation for an easy mid-range jumper. Nothing awkward, nothing bogging down the offense, just good decisions and strong playmaking to boot.

Poll

Who is the Bell Ringer against Milwaukee?

This poll is closed

  • 64%
    James Harden
    (431 votes)
  • 11%
    Joel Embiid
    (75 votes)
  • 24%
    Tobias Harris
    (160 votes)
666 votes total Vote Now