Tyrese Maxey exploded for 22 points in place of an injured Ben Simmons in the Philadelphia 76ers' 118-104 win over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday and earned himself a nickname from Dwight Howard in the process.
The veteran center told reporters how he came up with the moniker:
"I call him Mad Max! He gets out on the court he causes havoc, he gets downhill, he's getting to the basket. I think he's getting his touch and he's getting a little bit better of a feel for the game of basketball. This year has been really tough for a rookie, no Summer League, not a lot of practices, and stuff like that so for him to come in and do what he's doing and playing big minutes and guys like Ben and Seth is out. I think he's stepped up and he's done a great job. I'm real proud of him."
Maxey has excelled all season when given a chance to play with the first unit, averaging 17.0 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists in seven starts. His playing time has been inconsistent most of the season—as is wont to be the case when a rookie plays for a championship contender—but his ability to create off the dribble should give the Sixers an added dynamic in the postseason.
Joel Embiid said the "game becomes easier" with Maxey on the floor and credited him with giving the Sixers offense the push it needs when Simmons is out of the lineup.
Simmons is not expected to miss much time, but getting Maxey some minutes down the stretch could help boost his confidence for his first try at playoff basketball.