Tyrese Maxey stepped up on the biggest stage at the biggest time.

After what looked like another disappointing season finale, Maxey miraculously scored seven points in the last 30 seconds of the game to force the Knicks into overtime.

The Sixers pulled out on top to steal a game in New York.


Deja Vu?

All Sixers fans probably felt the same way entering the last minute of the Sixers’ game. When Mcbride hit the free throw line jumper with 30 seconds left, plenty of Sixers fans probably turned their TVs off and reflected on another early exit from the playoffs with another uninspired performance from Joel Embiid.

This game felt like many others the Sixers have played—a battle back and forth all game just to come up short in the end. Tyrese Maxey had other plans. He converted a rare and-one 3-pointer and nailed a logo-length 3 to tie things up, which brought them into overtime, where they sealed the deal. Maxey made a lot of noise in the sports world with his incredible play.

The Script is Flipped… For Now

The Sixers did the usual “try to lose the game” thing that they usually do in this situation, but luckily, the Knicks decided to do the same thing. Although he had a triple-double, Embiid tallied a whopping 9 turnovers in his 47 minutes played. It seemed that every time the momentum seemed to switch, Embiid would try too hard to make something happen, a pass would slip the fingers of Tobias Harris, or somebody would miss a wide-open 3. Fortunately for the Sixers, the Knicks also committed timely turnovers to keep them in the game.

Even with the help of sloppy play, the Sixers found themselves in a much too similar situation: trailing in the final stages of an elimination game. Queue Tyrese Maxey-Superman mode. Not many Sixers players in previous years had the capability to turn things on when they needed to most – Embiid tends to rely on others too much to set him up for baskets, Ben Simmons would shrink in crucial moments, and James Harden would fade away while trying to do it all. The Sixers finally have a player in Tyrese Maxey with a combination of shot-creating and limitless range that can bring a team back from the dead.

When called upon, Maxey delivered to bring hope to Philadelphia for at least one more game. Obviously, they still have to do it two more times, but something about this team seems different from what it was in years past. Games that feel like losses turn into wins more than they used to. They need to capitalize on momentum swings like this.

Embiid Needs to Answer Back

Maxey stole the show today and has the capability to do it again, but that doesn’t mean Embiid can be OK with his quality of play tonight. I get that he missed shootaround with a migraine that could definitely be a symptom of Bell’s Palsy and is still recovering from knee surgery, but that’s no excuse for his lackadaisical passing, leading to a multitude of turnovers throughout the game.

He needs to be better. He cannot expect to pull away with a win after another performance like that. The Sixers simply cannot afford it.

…But He Wasn’t All Bad

I still can’t hate on the big guy too much. I love him, and so should everybody in Philadelphia.

Even though he only scored 19 points on 7-19 shooting, he grabbed 16 rebounds and dished out 10 assists. Obviously, the game wasn’t coming to him tonight, but he did just enough to get the job done. He noticeably boxed out the Knicks more aggressively and made the right reads a lot of the time to get open shots for his teammates. He helped limit the Knicks’ offensive rebounds, which helped the Sixers outrebound the Knicks by 6 today. That made a big impact whether anybody wants to acknowledge it or not.


Can the Sixers Do It Again and Again?

No matter how magical tonight was, they need to do it twice more. The team stepped up and pulled it out in a subpar performance from Embiid, so just imagine what they can do if everyone is firing on all cylinders for once.

Even Tobias had a good game today.


The Sixers need to step it up and win this game at home to really put the pressure on the Knicks for Game 7.

PHOTO: Marca.com

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