While no one likely expected the Philadelphia 76ers to go into Milwaukee and take down the Bucks on Dame Lillard welcome night, the Sixers fought hard and nearly pulled off the minor upset. Philadelphia led by as many as eight points midway through the fourth quarter, and it was a one-possession game inside of the final minute. Ultimately, Lillard’s 39 points in his debut proved to be too much to overcome, especially with one of the Sixers’ best players denied to fly by airport security earlier in the day. A 118-117 loss still goes down as an “L” in the standings, but Sixers fans likely came away from tonight’s game feeling better than they expected to coming into the night. Let’s get to our first Bell Ringer of the 2023-24 regular season.
Tyrese Maxey: 31 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, 0 turnovers
I’m not going to say Maxey was running the offense like a 10-year veteran at the position, but eight assists without a turnover isn’t too shabby a start for his new role as lead guard without James Harden (at least for the moment). Tyrese also continued to be the fastest man on the court, blowing by defenders with ease. He also started getting those foul calls that eluded him as a younger player, likely a combination of his bulking up and getting more respect from the refs. You’ll take 10 free throw attempts from Maxey any night. A few more months of this play from the 22-year-old and we’re looking at an All-Star.
Maxey drills the stepback over Dame pic.twitter.com/E7Kd9JM7u2— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) October 27, 2023
Kelly Oubre Jr.: 27 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 3 turnovers
It has been a while since the Sixers had a pure bucket-getter, but Oubre fits the bill. In his Sixers debut, he was a hyper-efficient 9-of-11 from the field, including 5-fo-6 from three. Oubre was firing them up out of catch-and-shoot situations, creating his own shots off the drive, and bailing the team out at the end of the shot clock. I loved how no matter the score, if Oubre hits a shot, he’s going to celebrate and let people know about it. The defense was a bit of a misadventure at times, and if the Sixers could avoid having Oubre guarding Lillard in crunch time ever again that would be great, but it’s hard to imagine a better introduction to Tsunami Papi.
Kelly Oubre Junior with 27 points— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) October 27, 2023
5-6 from 3
Joel Embiid: 24 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 block, 7 turnovers
Let’s get the bad out of the way first. Some of the turnovers from Joel were simply terrible, and he had an uncharacteristically off night at the foul line, shooting just 3-of-8. However, he shot the ball a lot better than you would expect for someone with only one preseason game under his belt. Embiid finished 3-of-7 from three, and hit a couple big midrange jumpers in the final two minutes of the game. But really, I’m highlighting Joel here for his work on the other end of the court. We’ve heard from Nick Nurse how he wants Embiid’s impact to be felt on the defensive end, and it certainly was tonight, despite the lack of much in the way of defensive counting stats. Joel did a great job against Giannis the few times he got matched up with him on the ball and was a rim deterrent as a helper time and again. Really, his off-ball rotations were terrific throughout the contest. You had to like what you saw on that end from the MVP, and you know he can clean up the stuff on offense.
Joel Embiid blocks Giannis and gives him the Mutombo finger wag afterward ☝️pic.twitter.com/gpOayCe4sF— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) October 27, 2023
Tobias Harris: 20 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers
There were absolutely stretches tonight where you’d be forgiven for forgetting Tobi was out there, particularly in the first half. But he was a critical component of the Sixers’ comeback effort and push to take the lead in the fourth quarter, finishing with 15 second-half points overall. If there was a play where Tobias found himself with a guard like Lillard covering him, he took advantage. You definitely have to tip your cap to the efficiency as well, with Harris shooting 8-of-9 from the field, including 3-of-3 from downtown.
Tobi from the top of the key. pic.twitter.com/DGNGjTwvE4— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) October 27, 2023
Who is the Bell Ringer in the loss to Milwaukee?
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Kelly Oubre Jr.