Playoff Bell Ringer standings:
Joel Embiid - 2
Tobias Harris - 2
Tyrese Maxey - 1
With the odds entirely in their favor, the Philadelphia 76ers will not be the first team ever to blow a 3-0 lead, closing out their first-round series with a 132-97 Game 6 victory over the Raptors. The Sixers broke the game wide open in the third quarter, outscoring Toronto, 37-17, in the frame. Although Toronto hurt Philadelphia on the offensive glass yet again, the Sixers did a much better job taking care of the basketball, thereby limiting transition opportunities for the Raptors, who struggled shooting the ball again. Most importantly, the Sixers’ stars played like stars. Let’s get to our Bell Ringer candidates from the series-clinching win.
Joel Embiid: 33 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 3 blocks, 1 turnover
After what was his poorest performance of the series on both ends in Game 5, you knew Joel Embiid would raise his game in this critical Game 6. And he certainly did, starting with his effort on the defensive side of the ball. Joel was much more attentive, sliding over for an early charge, lurking for a pair of helpside blocks of Precious Achiuwa in the first half, and being his overall usual menacing self. Offensively, Joel didn’t have the three ball working, but his mid-range game was silky smooth, and he got back to powerfully attacking the rim where the undersized Raptors had little recourse but to foul. Embiid would end his night 9-of-10 from the charity stripe. In the midst of putting the game away for good with 12 fourth-quarter points, Joel even briefly brought back his airplane celebration to the “delight” of the Toronto crowd following a dunk with a few minutes in the game. Ever the showman, Joel.
it's a bird, it's a plane, it's JOEL EMBIID. ✈️ pic.twitter.com/QwnDLTtVAY— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) April 29, 2022
James Harden: 22 points, 6 rebounds, 15 assists, 3 turnovers
In his Game 5 post-game press conference, Joel Embiid said he would like Harden to be more aggressive. He got his wish tonight. The Beard looked spry right from the opening tip, getting to the rim right away for easy assists and points of his own. If there was any doubt that Harden was bringing an attacking mentality to the table in Game 6, you only had to wait three minutes to witness this incredible hammer dunk down the lane.
JAMES. HARDEN. WITH. AUTHORITY. pic.twitter.com/63OxtJPCCU— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) April 28, 2022
With his 15 assists, Harden was the head of a hyper-efficient offense throughout the night, working the drive-and-kick game expertly. Later on, he even chipped in a couple of his signature step-back threes. However, there was a brief scare after one of those made threes when OG Anunoby came down on Harden’s ankle, leaving the Sixers guard lying on the floor in pain for some time. After a timeout, James did remain in the game, so hopefully, it was a passing discomfort. The Sixers will need this outstanding version of Harden on a more consistent basis moving forward against Miami.
Tyrese Maxey: 25 points, 3 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 turnovers
Against the team that had a chance to trade for him a year ago, it’s only fitting that Tyrese Maxey was the tip of the spear delivering the finishing blow to the Raptors’ season. In the game-breaking third quarter, Maxey went absolutely wild, hitting three of his five three-pointers on the night and scoring 15 points in the frame. In addition to his hot perimeter shooting, Maxey flashed his lightning-quick speed in transition and as a playmaker in the half court. After a couple down games, it was thrilling to see the rising star version of Tyrese re-emerge.
Who is the Bell Ringer in the series-clinching win over Toronto?
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