Sixers Bell Ringer standings
Joel Embiid - 14
James Harden - 13
Tobias Harris - 5
Tyrese Maxey - 5
Shake Milton - 4
Paul Reed - 2
De’Anthony Melton - 1
Georges Niang - 1
Montrezl Harrell - 1
Right out of the gate Wednesday night, the shooters were hot and so were tempers, for all the various on- and off-court reasons. The Sixers and Nets were tied at 41 after one quarter, the first time two teams each scored 40 points in the opening frame in an NBA game this season, and the officiating crew was handing out technical fouls like candy on Halloween.
As things finally settled down a bit, Brooklyn cooled off offensively and the Sixers opened up a double-digit lead as large as 17 points. However, a zone defense and forever Sixer Seth Curry’s game-high 32 points helped the Nets come back to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. Fortunately, the Sixers hit some big shots down the stretch and went 35-of-36 at the foul line on the night, enabling them to squeak out the 137-133 win. Let’s examine our Bell Ringer candidates.
Tyrese Maxey: 27 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 0 turnovers
There was a 12-minute stretch in the first half where all the other subplots went out the window and this game became the Tyrese Maxey show. Coming off the bench, the rising 6th Man of the Year candidate scored 16 points in the first half, shooting 6-of-8 from the field, including 4-of-5 from three-point range, and chipped in three assists. There was a high degree of difficulty with a lot of Maxey’s attempts: the stepback treys he honed under James Harden’s tutelage last summer, the insane floater that has always been a part of his bag, a fadeaway elbow jumper with the first quarter clock winding down. Later, Tyrese capped off his night with a three-pointer with 1:40 remaining in the game to briefly extend the Sixers’ lead to seven points.
James Harden: 23 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 6 turnovers
At the tail end of what had been a so-so game for The Beard, Harden absolutely caught fire and pulled the Sixers’ fat out of the fryer. After Brooklyn had tied the game at 120 with under four minutes remaining, Harden hit two vintage stepback threes from the top of the arc on consecutive possessions to give the Sixers some breathing room. Philadelphia’s next points came via a long kick-ahead pass from Harden to Tobias Harris that resulted in two points for Tobi. To cap things off, with the Sixers up by two and Brooklyn looking to get a stop to have a final possession to go ahead or force overtime, James had a turn-back-the-clock drive to the hoop to make it a two-possession game. It was the sort of clutch performance the Sixers and their fan base envisioned from Harden when they made the trade with these Nets last February.
De’Anthony Melton: 19 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 3 blocks, 0 turnovers
De’Anthony Melton helped his club in so many different ways tonight, and was particularly hot in the first half on the offensive end. Mr. Do Something was a perfect 5-of-5 from the field, including 3-of-3 from downtown, prior to halftime. He is incredibly valuable as both a spot-up threat, and something who can attack the defense downhill as secondary playmaker. Melton even came up with a huge offensive rebound down the stretch to assist on Maxey’s late three-pointer. Defensively, I’m not going to say he contained Kyrie Irving, who hit some masterful shots and finished with 30 points and 10 assists, but Melton definitely competed and made Kyrie work for everything. De’Anthony had a couple blocks from behind on Kyrie jumpers that were pure effort plays.
De’Anthony Melton eviscerating the soft Nets zone pic.twitter.com/zhqDN5JwmK— Siddharth (@JasonSidd) January 26, 2023
Joel Embiid: 26 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers
Honestly, this was not a great Joel Embiid game. He shot just 6-of-18 from the field, clearly trying to have a statement game and force the bully ball plays on the interior, to his detriment. Embiid was also visibly bothered by his lingering shoulder and foot ailments at various times throughout the game. I was inclined to leave him off this list, except...
JOEL EMBIID SUCK IT ALERT pic.twitter.com/FvwAjKV8n5— Crossing Broad (@CrossingBroad) January 26, 2023
Who is the Bell Ringer in Wednesday’s win over Brooklyn?
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