Tyrese Maxey Lauded for Saving 76ers' Season in Joel Embiid's Return vs. Heat

Doric SamMay 7, 2022

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 6: Tyrese Maxey #0 of the Philadelphia 76ers talks with Tobias Harris #12 of the Philadelphia 76ers during Game 3 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 6, 2022 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers avoided going down 3-0 in their Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup against the Miami Heat with a 99-79 win on Friday at the Wells Fargo Center, and it was largely thanks to 21-year-old point guard Tyrese Maxey.

The Sixers led by double digits about midway through the third quarter, but the Heat managed to close the gap to face just a three-point deficit heading into the fourth. In the final frame, Maxey made his presence felt.

After scoring just seven points through the first three quarters, Maxey went off for 14 points in the fourth on 5-of-5 shooting with four triples. His energy and youthful enthusiasm clearly sparked the Sixers as they closed out the game.

Fans online couldn't help but to heap praise on Maxey for saving Philadelphia from facing the possibility of a sweep.

Kofie @Kofie

Give Maxey the Most Improved player award

Chris Williamson @CWilliamson44

Tyrese Maxey A MAX PLAYA!!

Krystle Rich-Bell @KrystleRich

Maxey MUST be all All-Star next season. He's INCREDIBLE <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SixersOutsiders?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SixersOutsiders</a>

DIGGZ @DiggzWorld

Maxey might be an all star next season still.

Troy Machir @TroyMachir

Tyrese Maxey is so much damn fun to watch

Ducis Rodgers @duciswild

Tyrese Maxey drinks for free. Got that Philadelphia? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/76ers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#76ers</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Sixers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Sixers</a>

Tim Bontemps @TimBontemps

What an absolutely incredible play by Tyrese Maxey.

Michael K-B @therealmikekb

Tyrese Maxey, always ready for the moment.

Kyle Neubeck @KyleNeubeck

That transition defense play might be the play of Maxey's season, that was insane.

DaveEarly @DavidEarly

Maxey playing some hero here. If Harden can remember how to dribble look out.

Kendrick Perkins @KendrickPerkins

Philly and Harden better remember how special Tyrese Maxey is when it comes to Harden negotiations for his contract extension!!! They better save a Major Bag for the young fella because he’s the ONE! Carry the hell on…

Maxey's 21 points tied with Danny Green for a team high. Sixers star center Joel Embiid had 18 points and 11 rebounds in his first game back from a concussion and facial injuries. James Harden had another quiet performance with 17 points, eight rebounds, six assists and seven turnovers.

In his second season out of Kentucky, Maxey emerged as a key player for the Sixers amid Ben Simmons' absence prior to getting traded in a package for Harden. Maxey made a jump from averaging 8.0 points as a rookie to 17.5 points this year while shooting 48.5 percent from the field and 42.7 percent from three-point range. He's now averaging 24.7 points in the conference semifinals.

It feels like Philadelphia still has another step to take if it hopes to get past the top-seeded Heat. But Friday's win was a step in the right direction, and it's clear that the Sixers need Maxey to bring it every night if they hope to pull off the upset.