"You Can't Be Surprised By The Moment" | Tyrese Maxey Shines in 76ers' Game 6 Victory
“Went to shootaround, went home, got me some pasta, called my mom and went to sleep. Woke up, came to the gym, [got] ready to go.”
A man of routine, Tyrese Maxey did Friday afternoon what he always does on gameday.
That was the case even after his head coach Doc Rivers told him he’d have an expanded role in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks.
“You can’t be surprised by the moment,” Maxey said of that conversation. “Like I’ve said all year, if you prepare, then nothing will surprise you. [Rivers] came up to me at shootaround, he told me that and I told him I was ready. I told him I was ready. He said ‘alright, let’s do it.’ The rest is history.”
Exactly seven months to the day that the 76ers selected Maxey with the No. 21 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the 20-year-old scored 16 points and posted a game-high plus-12 rating in nearly 30 minutes off the bench.
His spark helped the Sixers to a 104-99 victory in an elimination game.
It sets up a home Game 7 for the team on Sunday.
“Man, he just had guts out there,” said Tobias Harris. “He had confidence. The minute he stepped on the floor, he gave us that boost. The minute he checked in the game...he wasn’t scared of the moment.
“He was the spark of the game for us as a whole.”
Maxey checked in at the 6:41 mark of the first quarter. He scored his first basket less than a minute later, and would go on to add seven more points and six rebounds in his 18 first-half minutes.
The Sixers trailed by double digits in the opening frame. By halftime, the deficit was just four.
16 PTS | 7 REB
What a way to earn your name, young fella.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) June 19, 2021
In the second half, Maxey continued to play an important role on both ends of the floor and knocked down three clutch free throws late to preserve the win.
Rivers came away impressed with Maxey’s defense.
“He keeps working. He keeps watching film. I know everyone’s going to give him shine about the offense, but I thought [Friday] was the single best defensive night of the season for him. Really proud of him.”
A week ago, it was Furkan Korkmaz who provided the bench spark.
“Sometimes opportunity comes and you need to be ready,” said Korkmaz after Game 3 of the series. “You just need to step up. One game it’s Shake. One game it’s me. One game it’s Tyrese. Every day, the name changes, but the mentality is the same.”
In Game 6, the name was Tyrese.
It's the 15th such game by a 76ers rookie in that span.
— Sixers Stats (@SixersStats) June 19, 2021
“It was amazing,” Maxey said.
“[Friday] was the first Game 6 of my career.”
Now, his first Game 7 awaits.
Sunday’s Game 7 between the 76ers and Hawks is set for 8:00 p.m. in Philadelphia.