By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers faced off with the Indiana Pacers who have one of the most explosive offenses in the league. Both teams traded blows throughout this game, but Tyrese Maxey exploded in this game and put the Sixers on his back. He powered Philly to a 137-126 victory to get their eighth victory of the season and extend the win streak to eight straight.
The Sixers started this game off hot, they found the bottom of the basket early in this game. They had the Pacers on their heels in the first two quarters. The duo of Tyrese Maxey (50-points, made seven/nine three-pointer, grabbed seven-rebounds, had five-assists, and three-blocks) and Joel Embiid (37-points, grabbed 13-rebounds, and had seven-assists) combined for 87 of Philly’s 137-points. Maxey in particular put his stamp all over this game, he scored 25 of his 50-points by half-time and Indiana had no answers for him. He has thrived now that he is the primary ball handler and plays way more aggressively and less timid. An aggressive Maxey is a great thing for Philly and his work in the offseason of becoming a more consistent three-point shooter has clearly paid off. Maxey made seven three-pointers tonight and if he can play like this every night opposing defenses will have to choose between letting him go off or Joel Embiid. He has added another dimension to Philly’s offense and is proving why Joel Embiid has nicknamed him “The Franchise,” he keeps playing like this he might just become the best player in Philly.
Despite the explosion from Maxey and Embiid the Pacers were able to come back and retake the lead after being down by as many as 20-points. Really showing why they are one of the most explosive offenses in the league. The duo of Tyrese Haliburton (25-points) and Myles Turner (22-points) refused to let their team get blown out in this contest. It did not matter if they were shooting wide-open or contested shots it found the bottom of the net. When Philly finally turned up the defensive pressure on them, they forced Indiana into multiple turnovers that ended in easy shots for the Sixers and that propelled them to the victory tonight.
The Sixers will now prepare to face the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night for the second game of the In-Season Tournament. Philly will need to stay attached to their defensive assignments, unlike tonight where they allowed the pace that Indiana plays to end with high-percentage shots. They will need to decrease those easy opportunities and make Indiana take contested shots. Additionally, on the offensive side ball movement needs to be continually implemented in Philly’s offensive possessions. Let the ball find the open man and lead to high percentage shots. If they can implement these things, they can get their ninth victory of the season and their second win in the group play section of the In-Season Tournament.