Bell Ringer Season Totals:
Joel Embiid - 14
Tyrese Maxey - 5
Tobias Harris - 4
De’Anthony Melton - 2
Patrick Beverley - 1
Kelly Oubre Jr. - 1
Jaden Springer - 1
Paul Reed - 1
What a win.
With Joel Embiid missing his third straight game Friday, the Sixers beat the Rockets in a thriller 131-127 in Houston.
Fred VanVleet scorched his former head coach early nailing three threes in the first quarter on his way to 17 first-half points. It wasn’t a great defensive quarter from the Sixers as they allowed 31 points thanks to poor communication and lapses.
The second quarter was all Tyrese Maxey. The young guard was ridiculous, dropping 19 of his 27 first-half points in the period. The Sixers were outworked by Houston and got crushed on the glass, 35-17. They were lucky to be down 64-63 at the half.
The third quarter started with more poor defense by the Sixers. They (rightfully) were paying a lot of attention to big man Alperen Sengun, but that allowed VanVleet and Jalen Green to get going. The Sixers also couldn’t buy a three for most of the night while the Rockets, led by VanVleet, couldn’t miss.
But the Sixers hung in the game thanks to Maxey. Then down the stretch, Patrick Beverley and Marcus Morris, Sr. came up huge as Nick Nurse opted to close the game small. Beverley came up with several big plays and Morris nailed a dagger three and was fouled on a broken play with 31.6 seconds left.
This road trip finally ends tomorrow night in Chicago, but for now let’s talk Bell Ringer.
Tyrese Maxey: 42 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 turnover
The Sixers came out flat. There was no ball or player movement on offense. The defense was a step behind in help and rotations. They got pounded on the glass.
If it wasn’t for Tyrese Maxey, the Sixers would’ve gotten played off the floor. After a customary quiet first quarter, Maxey went off in the second, dropping 19 of his 27 first-half points. He was aggressive, getting to the paint and finishing through contact. The whistles started going his way as well as he went 8-of-8 from the line.
The Marvelous Mr. Maxey. ✨ pic.twitter.com/07WUzA8lrZ— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) December 30, 2023
The Sixers trailed by one going into halftime. It would’ve been a hell of a lot worse if not for Maxey.
Maxey finished the night with 42 in a game where the three ball wasn’t falling. He was just 2-of-9 on the night and the Sixers went 12-of-33 as a team. But he was able to continue attacking the paint and drawing contact. Maxey finished with a career high in free throw makes and takes, going 14-of-15 from the line.
And he did all this while only turning the ball over one time. He carried the Sixers for most of the night with the big fella out.
Tobias Harris: 22 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 blocks
This was simply a steady night from Harris offensively. He had 11 points in each half and provided a solid complement to Maxey throughout the game.
Nurse did well to get him mismatches, attacking VanVleet on several possessions. Harris typically made the right decisions, being aggressive when the doubles didn’t come and passing it out when they didn’t — which led to seven assists on the night.
Even more impressively, Harris came up with four steals and three blocks. He got off to such a hot start early in the season largely because of his play in the open floor. Those steals led to plenty of opportunities to create offense.
When Nurse went small, Harris was mostly charged with guarding the super talented Sengun. He did about as well as a wing could on such a gifted big. Just a solid all-round performance from Harris.
Marcus Morris, Sr.: 14 points (10 in the fourth), 5 rebounds, huge 4-point play
When Morris moved ahead of Robert Covington in the rotation, most people were confused by the decision. Nurse stood by it and Morris made him look brilliant by shooting the lights out.
On Friday, Morris hadn’t made much of an impact through three quarters, but Paul Reed and Mo Bamba struggled. Some might have wondered if it was time for Nurse to go to Covington down the stretch.
Lo and behold, Nurse stuck with Morris and the North Philly native made it look like a master stoke. With the Sixers clinging to a 123-122 lead and under a minute left, they needed a good possession. After Maxey was blocked on a drive, Pat Bev got to the loose ball, tapped it to Morris, and the veteran forward got the job done.
Every team should try to get a guy from North Philly.
Patrick Beverley: 9 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds, well-timed shit talking
While Maxey kept the Sixers in the game all night long, it was the team’s dogs that finished the job.
Pat Bev played the entire fourth quarter as Nurse opted to use him over Kelly Oubre, Jr. He started it by scoring four quick points which cut Houston’s lead from seven to three. He made a huge corner three with under two minutes left that put the Sixers back in front 121-120. He hounded VanVleet who went just 1-of-3 (the one being a prayer from three) from the floor in the final quarter. It appeared Pat Bev made sure FVV knew that.
But nothing was bigger than him finding the loose ball and getting it to Morris. Winning plays — that’s what Pat Bev does.
And Nurse keeps pressing all the right buttons.
Who was the Sixers’ Bell Ringer in their win over the Rockets?
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Marcus Morris, Sr.