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Sixers Bell Ringer: Sixers stumble, Celtics take 2-1 series lead

Well, at least it was better than Game 2.

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Sixers Playoff Bell Ringer standings

Tyrese Maxey - 2

James Harden - 2

Joel Embiid - 1

Tobias Harris - 1

The Boston Celtics came to the Wells Fargo Center and took Game 3 from the Philadelphia 76ers 114-102 on Friday night.

The Sixers were quickly down by double-digits to the Celtics in the first before battling back to take the lead by the end of the frame. By the end of the second, Boston had reestablished their advantage, leading 57-50 headed into the locker room. Sloppiness plagued the Sixers in the first half, with 11 turnovers resulting in 15 Celtics’ points. James Harden committed six of those first-half turnovers. Friday was... not his night, let’s just leave it at that.

Despite a productive quarter from Joel Embiid bringing them within two, the Sixers slowly fell back to a double-digit disadvantage, trailing by 11 at the end of the third. The Sixers were held without a field goal for the last five minutes of the third. Philadelphia tried to battle back throughout the fourth, but it seemed like for every bucket they could muster, Boston was right there ready to sink another triple. The Celtics held on to win 114-102.

Boston takes a 2-1 series lead in the second round. Game 4 is set for Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. ET in South Philadelphia.

For now, let’s get to the Bell Ringer.

Joel Embiid: 1 MVP Award, 30 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 4 blocks

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Embiid looked a lot more like, well, Embiid on Friday night than he did in Game 2. His agility, energy level, lateral movement — all looked much better than in Wednesday night’s loss. He frankly looked impossible to guard. The Celtics tried four or five different defenders on the big man and none of them could make a difference. The newly-crowned MVP led all scorers in the first with 12 points and put up two blocks early. His aggression and drives earned him a number of quick trips to the foul line, where he shot 6-for-6 in the first. He put up his third block of the game in the second on Jayson Tatum at the rim. Embiid finished with 30 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, one steal and four blocks.

Unfortunately for the MVP, he was really the only one that showed up to the caliber necessary on Friday night. He had to do it all, and it just wasn’t enough to overcome the entire Celtics’ squad.

Let’s be real though, this is the highlight we all need to watch again:

De’Anthony Melton: 14 points (4 triples), 8 rebounds, 1 block, 4 steals

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Melton was subbed in for P.J. Tucker about halfway through the first frame after a rough start for the Sixers and, man, what a difference it made. Melton put up five points, grabbed five rebounds and had a steal and a block in the first as the Sixers fought back from a double-digit deficit. He followed it up with this hustle play in the second, saving a loose ball and pushing it forward for a pair of points for the Sixers:

Melton sank a triple late in the half to keep the Sixers’ deficit to single digits at halftime. His shooting cooled off in the third, but he continued to contribute hugely defensively. In the fourth, Melton sank another triple Melton and finished Game 3 with 14 points (four triples), eight rebounds, one blocks and four steals off the bench.

P.J. Tucker: 38 birthday candles, 9 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 1 steal

NBA: Playoffs-Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

I think after being subbed out early in the first, Tucker was told that he wasn’t going to get more minutes until he started taking advantage of open three opportunities. Well, message received. Tucker sank a triple in the second and two more in the third. He finished with three triples on four attempts. Look, this game was slim picking for Bell Ringer options, and it’s Tuck’s birthday. Let’s give him this.

Poll

Who is the Sixers’ Bell Ringer for Game 3 vs. the Boston Celtics?

This poll is closed

  • 86%
    Joel Embiid
    (211 votes)
  • 7%
    De’Anthony Melton
    (18 votes)
  • 5%
    P.J. Tucker
    (14 votes)
243 votes total Vote Now

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