James Harden Sends Strong Message to Sixers Breakout Star Tyrese Maxey

Philadelphia 76ers, Tyrese Maxey

Getty Tyrese Maxey #0 of the Philadelphia 76ers celebrates after scoring in the first quarter against the Toronto Raptors during Game One of the Eastern Conference First Round.

Since his arrival last season, it did not take long for Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey to become a fan favorite. Between his strong work ethic and humble, fun-loving personality, he is an easy player to get behind.

Another reason fans gush over him is his ability to put up points in a hurry. We saw this on full display in the Sixers’ game 1 win over the Toronto Raptors. In just his 13th playoff game as a pro, the 21-year-old scored 38 points while shooting an impressive 14-for-21 from the field.

Multiple teammates praised Maxey after the blowout win. Tobias Harris credited him for getting going offensively early and carrying it through all four quarters.

“Once we got the ball in his hands, just got to it, he made his looks, and just had it rolling. Hats off to him because he played a heckuva game tonight,” Harris said of Maxey, per USA Today.

Tyrese Maxey Is Made For The Moment

For only being in his second season, Maxey’s confidence is among the most impressive things about him. Even in the bright lights of the postseason, there is no moment too big for the former first-round pick.

This abundance of confidence stems from Maxey’s dedication to constantly improving his craft. Part of why he doesn’t waver in pressure-filled moments is because he trusts the work he puts in behind the scenes. James Harden touched on how confident Maxey plays during his postgame media availability:

He took his shots when they were open, he took his attacks when they were available, and he just made the play, man, which he does. Since I’ve been here, I saw that. Tonight was no different. He just took his shots and he was ultra-confident. That’s what we’ll need going forward.

Every good team needs someone who is a stabilizer on the floor. While Maxey might be one of the younger players, his ability to not get caught up in big spots is huge for the Sixers.

Taking Advantage Of The Defense

If the Sixers are going to make a deep run in the playoffs, it is going to take a collective effort. Joel Embiid and James Harden have to lead the charge, but production from all areas is essential.

Given how dominant the Sixers’ All-Star duo is in the two-man game, opposing teams are going to throw everything at them to slow them down. We saw Nick Nurse throw an array of different looks at Joel Embiid in hopes of limiting his production.

With so much focus being on Embiid and Harden, it creates opportunities for those around them. We saw Maxey’s scoring numbers increase after the All-Star break because of this and again in Saturday’s game 1 victory.

Heading into the playoffs, Maxey was easily one of the main potential X-factors for the Sixers. When his shots start falling as they did in game 1, they are a near impossible team to guard. More importantly, Maxey’s scoring punch is crucial during the stretches when Embiid and or Harden are off the floor.

Opportunities to attack weaker matchups will be there for Maxey all throughout the postseason, and the Sixers will need him to continue to attack them if they want to make a deep run.

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