By Michael Tierney, Business Manager Chants of “Maxey! Maxey! Maxey!” rained down on the hardwood court of Wells Fargo Center on Saturday, April 16 as the Philadelphia 76ers handily defeated the Toronto Raptors 131-111 in game one of the eastern conference quarterfinals. Maxey dropped 38 points, including five three-pointers while shooting 66% from the field,...
By Michael Tierney, Business Manager
Chants of “Maxey! Maxey! Maxey!” rained down on the hardwood court of Wells Fargo Center on Saturday, April 16 as the Philadelphia 76ers handily defeated the Toronto Raptors 131-111 in game one of the eastern conference quarterfinals. Maxey dropped 38 points, including five three-pointers while shooting 66% from the field, and became the youngest player in franchise history to score over 30 points in a playoff game.
Many thought this game was an anomaly, but Maxey has proved otherwise by playing a strong, consistent and integral role for the squad each night. The Sixers’ skilled sophomore sent the Raptors packing by scoring 25 points in game six of the series. He also shot 80% from the field, scoring a team-leading 34 points in game two of the Sixers’ series against the Miami Heat. Maxey has significantly helped the Sixers in their transition game so far in the playoffs as well. His on-court speed is unmatched and allows the squad to capitalize on fast breaks.
After being thrusted into the starting point guard position in the aftermath of the Ben Simmons fiasco, Maxey has developed into an elite player and is thriving. Many thought the team was doomed after trading Simmons, who was the best defender on the team, but Maxey stepped up to the challenge. He has gone from averaging only 15 minutes per game last season to 35 minutes per game this year. Now, in the playoffs, he is averaging over 40 minutes per game. Maxey’s three-point percentage has also increased by 12% since last season and his average points per game has gone from eight to 17. He is proving that he has one of the strongest work ethics of anyone in the NBA.
Maxey’s confidence has also improved along with his playing. His wide smile is contagious, and he has been described as “sunshine” by head coach Doc Rivers. Maxey’s optimism persisted throughout the season and into the playoffs and was especially noticeable during his first postseason start, where he single-handedly destroyed the Raptors.
Maxey may just be the final piece the Sixers need to have a deep title run this season. The rise of Maxey gives the Sixers one of the most exciting big threes in the NBA with him, Joel Embiid and James Harden. This trio poses a threat against the rest of the league and will give the Sixers the opportunity to take down the top dogs in the NBA.
Unfortunately, the Sixers fell to the Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals in six games. Despite this setback, the future is bright with Maxey’s steady improvement. Once James Harden starts taking more shots and Embiid recovers from his torn ligament in his thumb, orbital fracture, and concussion that he sustained in the playoffs, the Sixers will be back and a strong force in the Eastern Conference.
Michael Tierney can be reached at [email protected]
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