Sixers Bell Ringer: Late-game comeback not quite enough in loss to Wolves

Sixers regular season Bell Ringer standings:

Joel Embiid – 6
James Harden – 4
Tyrese Maxey- 3
Tobias Harris – 1
George Niang – 1

With the number of injuries they’re facing, the Philadelphia 76ers are about ready to hold open casting calls to help fill out the roster. Playing a back-to-back against a well-rested Minnesota Timberwolves team and missing three starters, it wasn’t shocking that the Sixers gave up 13-1 and 16-2 runs in the first half and fell behind by as much as 20 points.

To their immense credit, though, the Sixers didn’t wave the white flag, eventually surging back to cut the Wolves’ lead to just one point with less than 30 seconds remaining. De’Anthony Melton even had a chance to put Philadelphia ahead after a terrific steal, but his lay-up attempt went errant off the glass. After Anthony Edwards hit two free throws, the Sixers failed to get a good look for the tie, with Georges Niang’s heavily-contested heave coming up way short to lock in the 112-109 defeat. Still, we saw the guys give it their all tonight to fight back so let’s get to Bell Ringer.

Joel Embiid: 32 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, 6 turnovers

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Embiid didn’t have the mid-range jumper working like a night earlier, and he had some really poor turnovers of the traveling and ill-advised pass variety, but he still found ways to make his presence felt. After being slowed down in the painted area by Brook Lopez Friday night, Joel had no such trouble against the Wolves, consistently able to drive and draw fouls near the rim. Embiid finished 18-of-20 at the free throw line, producing the most reliable form of the Sixers offense while also getting Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Naz Reid all in foul trouble. His Bell Ringer nominee status was cemented late in the game after he looked to have his ankle rolled up on under the basket by Georges Niang. After laying on the ground in pain, Joel soldiered on to stay in the game and a minute later, was diving on the floor for a crucial steal in the backcourt and then hitting a clutch three-pointer. You can’t possibly question this man’s desire to win.

Shake Milton: 27 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 6 turnovers

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Philadelphia 76ers

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Shake had only hit two three-pointers total on the season entering tonight’s game. So it was found money to see him knock down three of his five attempts tonight, in addition to sinking a couple of tough turnaround jumpers and some gorgeous, slithery finishes around the bucket. Milton definitely struggles with ball pressure, as the six giveaways show, but he was able to create his own offense much better than I anticipated. We’ve seen enough from Shake each of the last two nights to indicate the Sixers just might be able to tread water in the backcourt for a couple of weeks until the starters get healthy.

De’Anthony Melton: 19 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals, 1 block, 3 turnovers

Minnesota Timberwolves v Philadelphia 76ers

Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Is it frustrating that in the drives to the hoop, Melton often channels Luis Mendoza before he learns how to stop on the ice? Yes. Was Melton a huge reason the Sixers even had a chance of pulling off the improbable comeback win tonight? So yes. The streaky-shooting Melton was hot from behind the arc tonight, hitting 5-of-9 from downtown, including a loooong one from the top of the key to make it a one-point game with 29 seconds left. He also caused absolute chaos on the defensive end. During the Sixers’ fourth-quarter comeback, Melton made exemplary plays on back-to-back possessions, first with a steal that led to a Shake Milton dunk in transition, and then blocking a Karl-Anthony Towns three-point attempt from behind. If De’Anthony had converted the go-ahead bucket after his steal on Anthony Edwards in the closing seconds, he would have achieved legend for a day status. Alas.

Poll

Who is the Bell Ringer in Saturday night’s loss to Minnesota?

  • 17%

    De’Anthony Melton

    (23 votes)


130 votes in total

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