After losing to the Raptors at home Sunday night, the 76ers(44-27) returned to their home floor Monday to battle the team with the best record in the East, the Miami Heat(47-25), but in this game, the 76ers were without their two best players in Joel Embiid(Back soreness) and James Harden(Left Hamstring; Injury Recovery).
However, they did have Tyrese Maxey, who got the job done for Philadelphia.
Maxey scored 13 of his game-high 28 points(9/15 FG, 3/7 3-PT FG, 7/7 FT) in the fourth quarter to go along with five rebounds and four assists as the 76ers defeated the Heat 113-106.
The second-year guard was a perfect 5/5 from the field, including 2/2 from deep in the fourth quarter, and he also did it on the defensive end as Maxey had a fantastic block on Caleb Martin.
“He [Tyrese Maxey] was awesome,” 76ers head coach Doc Rivers said. “And again, he sat when we were making the run. He was watching Shake [Milton] and Furk [Furkan Korkmaz] and Georges [Niang] and that group. When he came in, we explained to him very clearly what we were trying to do. And we got that, a lot. We got the right place on the floor. He attacked. The threes were great. More importantly, he made a defensive play to win the game. That was one hell of a block.”
The 21-year-old Maxey was also getting love from the fans as they chanted his name in the fourth, but he gave credit to Shake Milton(20 points, five rebounds, six assists), Furkan Kormaz(16 points, 4/7 3pt FG, and six rebounds), and Paul Millsap(five points and four rebounds).
“Hearing it is different. It’s different,” Maxey said about the fans’ chants. “But, I can’t take any of this credit. I’m just looking at the stats right here and guys like Shake [Milton] and Furk [Furkan Korkmaz] and Paul Millsap. Paul Millsap starts tonight. I don’t think he played in the last ten games. Furk hasn’t played much. But for those guys to stay ready and come in and play 31, 27 minutes, it’s just testimony to our group.”
Maxey also discussed his sensational block on Martin.
“We turned the ball over, first of all,” he said. “It was hard to get in. It was a hard spot. In my mind, I was thinking, ‘either he’s [Caleb Martin] gonna have to dunk on me today, or I will get this block.’ It was one or the other. And just one of those plays where you have to put your body on the line. And coach Doc [Doc Rivers] always messes with me, saying I’m six-foot and I need to stop trying to block shots. I got in there today, and he said, ‘that was a great block, but I don’t want to see you ever block another shot again.’ It was great, though.”
This might have been the best win of the season for Philadelphia when you consider they had their two best players in street clothes. Strange things happen in sports sometimes, and to Philly’s credit, they battled, guys stepped up, and again, the 76ers got the job done.
Back to Maxey, it’s clear; he’s going to be a star for sure!