NBA

Maxey 'blessed' to replicate Embiid, Iverson and Chamberlain feat as 76ers outlast Spurs

By Sports Desk April 08, 2024

Tyrese Maxey described himself as "blessed" after joining an exclusive club with his 52-point display against the San Antonio Spurs in Sunday's 133-126 overtime win for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Maxey put up his third 50-point performance of the season as the Sixers boosted their hopes of avoiding the Play-In Tournament with a fifth straight win.

He joined Joel Embiid, Allen Iverson and Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in franchise history to reach a half-century three times in a single year, with Chamberlain doing so in an NBA-record 45 games in 1961-62.

Asked about the significance of that achievement after the game, Maxey said: "For my little self to be mentioned with those guys, hey, I'm happy, I'm blessed.

"I didn't want to let us lose. I just wanted to do whatever I could, exert all my energy. I could live with the result after that. 

"No matter how tired, no matter how sore, I just wanted to go out there and try to help us win."

Maxey's performance ensured Philadelphia overcame the absence of Embiid, who was rested after playing three straight games upon his return from knee surgery.

Maxey also put up 50 points against the Indiana Pacers in November and 51 versus the Utah Jazz in February. With Embiid also having three 50-point games this year, the Sixers are the first team in NBA history to have multiple players achieve the feat three times in a single campaign. 

Philadelphia forward Nicolas Batum said of Maxey's showing: "We needed that tonight. Tyrese has been amazing for us all year long. 

"We could easily have been like, 'this is not our night', they're playing good, second night of a back-to-back. But no, he didn't give up. He led the way for us. He kept fighting for us."

Philadelphia outscored San Antonio 30-20 through the final nine minutes of regulation, with Maxey's layup tying it up at 111 to force overtime, with the Sixers ultimately prevailing in a second additional period.

Maxey's heroics meant Victor Wembanyama finished on the losing side despite putting up 33 points, 18 rebounds and six assists, the rookie also posting a career-high five 3-pointers.

Batum was pleased to get one over on Wembanyama now, suggesting few teams will be able to stop him once he gains more experience. 

"He's a special man, he's special," Batum said of the number one draft pick. "It was a good call from [Spurs coach Gregg] Popovich when he said this may be his worst season. 

"That is the scariest part, this may be the worst Wemby we are going to see in 15 years! I'm glad I won this one tonight."

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