Sixers Bell Ringer: Game 43

The Joel Embiid-less Sixers let a winnable game slip through their fingers

For a refresher on what constitutes a Bell Ringer, please reference the initial post.

Bell Ringer Season Standings:

Joel Embiid – 15
Ben Simmons – 12
Jimmy Butler – 5
JJ Redick – 5
Robert Covington – 1
Dario Saric – 1
T.J. McConnell – 1
Furkan Korkmaz – 1
Landry Shamet – 1

With Joel Embiid sidelined by a sprained ankle, the Sixers’ defense sprang more holes than a post-iceberg Titanic. The Hawks shot 55.6 percent from the field and dropped 69 points in the second half. Clutch shots by Kevin Huerter and John Collins in the final minute, followed by a missed putback off the hands of Wilson Chandler at the buzzer, sentenced the Sixers to a 123-121 defeat. Here are your Bell Ringer candidates:

Ben Simmons: 23 points, 10 rebounds, 15 assists, 2 steals, 1 block

Getting more minutes at the five-spot with Embiid out (and Amir Johnson also unavailable due to migraines), Simmons had plenty of room to operate in the post or with his back to the basket as a facilitator from the mid-range. He did an outstanding job rifling pinpoint passes to cutters and tossing up timely lobs, tying a career-high with the 15 assists; plus, 3 turnovers in 43 minutes makes for a perfectly acceptable job of ball security.

Simmons also shot a highly efficient 10-for-13 from the field, and was one of the few Sixers who played a lick of defense, anticipating passing lanes and sticking to smaller guards on a number of occasions. Oh, and the jumper is coming along nicely.

Jimmy Butler: 30 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals

Butler saw the primary usage bump with JoJo unavailable, and consistently attacked the basket off the dribble or finished off lobs after hard cuts to the rim. Jimmy kept charging ahead, even after taking a number of hard falls to the floor (not to mention catching a flagrant elbow from Alex Len on the defensive end). He assumed Embiid’s role as “guy taking a ton of foul shots” by hitting all of his first 12 free throws attempts. Unfortunately, Butler’s first miss at the line came with 2 seconds left when he had a chance to tie the game.

Mike Muscala: 16 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block

Obviously, nobody expects Muscala to fully replace everything Embiid brings to the table when he takes his spot in the starting lineup, but Moose did a nice job contributing in his own way. He finished 4-for-8 from behind the arc, including two 3-pointers as part of a 10-0 Sixers run to begin the second quarter. Ideally, Muscala would have done a better job on the glass, but his floor spacing helped provide room for Simmons and Butler to operate. It was a welcome boost from part of a usually tepid supporting cast.

T.J. McConnell – 16 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals

McConnell shot 7-for-8 from the floor, expertly navigating his way around screens and knocking down a bushel of mid-range jumpers. He also served up not one, but two, iconic T.J. moments in this game. In the fourth quarter, McConnell hit a huge corner 3 in front of the Hawks bench. Former teammate Justin Anderson must have been saying something in his ear, because T.J. playfully slapped him before running back down court. Earlier in the game, we also saw McConnell play the part of a field medic and literally drag an aggrieved Jimmy Butler out of a crowd.

from Liberty Ballers – All Posts http://bit.ly/2FnbTNA
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