Bell Ringer Season Totals:
Joel Embiid - 19
Tyrese Maxey - 8
Tobias Harris - 5
Kelly Oubre Jr. - 4
Paul Reed - 3
Jaden Springer - 3 (sad face)
De’Anthony Melton - 2
Patrick Beverley - 1 (sad face)
Ricky Council IV - 1
Danuel House Jr. - 1
Furkan Korkmaz - 1 (sad face)
Terquavion Smith - 1
Friday was the first time the Sixers played a competitive basketball game in over a week.
Despite missing four starters, the Sixers showed plenty of fight before ultimately falling to the Hawks 127-121 Friday. The team is still without Joel Embiid, De’Anthony Melton and Nicolas Batum, while Tyrese Maxey was out because of an illness.
That meant newcomers Buddy Hield and Cameron Payne, both acquired ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline, would not only make their Sixers debuts but also start.
Early on, the Sixers looked like a team down 4/5 of its starting lineup and integrating two new players. The offense looked a little ragged and there were persistent breakdowns on defense. It didn’t help that Atlanta was red-hot from deep, going 11-of-19 from three in the first half. That allowed the Hawks to take a 73-56 lead into halftime.
While the Sixers began to find their groove offensively in the third quarter, they simply couldn’t get enough stops on the other end to gain much ground. They went into the fourth still down 17.
Shooting regression and the Sixers finally getting back and communicating on defense slowed down Atlanta’s offense. The Hawks went 5-of-16 from the field and 0-of-5 from three. The Sixers clawed their way back into the game, cutting the deficit to as little as four. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the continuity or proper personnel to complete the comeback despite outscoring Atlanta 35-24 in the final quarter.
There is zero rest for the weary as the reeling Sixers will head to D.C. looking to snap a four-game skid against a lowly Wizards team.
Let’s get to Bell Ringer.
Cameron Payne: 20 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block
Man, give Payne a lot of credit. This was an extremely difficult spot. Not only was he traded for a fan favorite, but he was asked to start at point guard for his new team that’s decimated by injuries and illnesses.
And he acquitted himself quite well. It was an understandably slow start as Payne got his footing, but he came out firing. As the game went on he got more and more comfortable running the offense. He said postgame that his time in camp with the Raptors under Nick Nurse and the time he spent this season with former Nurse assistant Adrian Griffin in Milwaukee helped.
After going just 3-of-9 with eight points and two assists in the first half, Payne had a big second half. He scored 12 of his season-high 20 points after halftime, going 4-of-6 from three and dishing out four of his six assists.
Payne definitely has more juice offensively than Patrick Beverley. Clearly Pat Bev has the advantage defensively and with intangibles, but Payne is a more explosive player and a more willing and consistent shooter. That’s not to say you expect Payne to average 20 a game, but he can play. The Sixers outscored the Hawks by four when Payne was on the floor Friday.
Buddy Hield: 20 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds
A guy going 4-of-12 from three and needing 21 shots to score 20 isn’t often going to make them a Bell Ringer candidate, but this a special exception. For starters, it was Hield’s debut. Secondly, it was evident how his mere presence affected the game.
The Sixers’ offense has been abysmal since Embiid went down. Outside of Maxey going nuclear in Utah, the team has struggled mightily to score points. Everything felt more open with Hield out there. His shooting gravity makes him someone teams have to account for, something that simply hasn’t been the case for opponents outside of Maxey recently.
The volume alone is beneficial. Hield got up 12 attempts from deep. The only Sixers to do that this season are Maxey (three times) and De’Anthony Melton. Hield did it in his first game here. As a team, the Sixers took 45 threes, tied for their second-highest total this season. It was the fifth time they attempted 40 shots from distance and the first since Christmas Day.
When Maxey returns, Hield should be an enormous help. When/if Embiid returns, well, that should be a lot of fun.
Hield really showed off his overall offensive game tonight. He dished out six assists and seemed quite comfortable putting the ball on the floor when teams closed out on him aggressively. He’s a strong addition.
Kelly Oubre, Jr.: 28 points, 12 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block
Oubre has really struggled over his last three games, shooting just 32.6% from the field. He was a bit more efficient tonight, though he’s still struggling from deep after going 2-of-8 against the Hawks.
What helped give Oubre’s night a boost was his ability to draw fouls and get to the line. He was 10-of-14 from the line as Atlanta’s perimeter defenders struggled to contain his drives and he embraced contact at the rim. Oubre is most effective when he’s slashing, getting downhill and using his athleticism to get to the rim. That’s the skill that should allow him to stick in Nurse’s rotation once the roster is healthy. It’s a nice complementary skill — along with his cutting — to Hield’s shooting.
The 12 rebounds were also big for the Sixers. It was easily Oubre’s season high and the first time he’d pulled down double-digit boards. The five offensive rebounds were also a season high. It was a big part of why the Sixers won the rebounding battle.
And a special shoutout for Oubre losing a contact, picking it up off the dirty ass floor, shoving it back in his eye with no solution, and knocking down two free throws. Hell of a sequence. Nothing but respect.
What was the Sixers’ Bell Ringer Friday night against the Hawks?
Kelly Oubre, Jr.