All-Star Maxey scores career-high 51 points to help 76ers beat Jazz
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Tyrese Maxey scored a career-high 51 points hours after being selected to his first All-Star Game, helping the Philadelphia 76ers overcome star center Joel Embiid's absence for a 127-124 victory over the Utah Jazz on Thursday night.
After missing three games because of a sprained left ankle, Maxey topped his previous career high of 50 — set Nov. 12 at home against Indiana — with two free throws with 4.1 seconds left.
“Blessed!” Maxey said. “It's been a wonderful day. I keep saying I’m just happy we got to win. It wouldn't have mattered if we lost as we would have been sitting there sad on this long flight to Philly.”
Embiid has an injured lateral meniscus in his left knee and will miss games at least through the weekend. He was already set to sit out against Utah, but an MRI revealed the injury that will cause him to miss more time.
“We needed this emotionally after Big Fella went down and the four games we lost on this trip,” Maxey said.
Tobias Harris added 28 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. had 16 for Philadelphia. The 76ers finished 1-4 on their longest trip of the season.
Maxey was 17 of 27 from the field, 7 of 9 on 3s and made 10 of 11 free throws. He's the first 76er to have at least seven 2-point field goals, seven 3s and seven free throws.
“I just wanted to be aggressive. I was like, ‘Man, if I’m going to be out here, I got to go all out for my teammates,’” said Maxey, who admitted he had no idea he play 41 minutes on his first game back.
“We got to pay attention to all the little details,” Markkanen said. "There’s little things in the game we can get better at and we’re going to learn from them.”
Maxey made a 33-foot 3-pointer and then Patrick Beverley hit another 3 from the corner to put Philadelphia up 123-120.
The Jazz trailed almost all game but Markkanen and Sexton hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give them a 120-117 lead with 2:30 to play.
“We got to up our awareness to what’s going on in the game because I think that we’re fighting hard physically and, at times, we just seem a little bit mentally unavailable,” Utah coach Will Hardy said.
Despite some fatigue, the 76ers took advantage of turnovers and got out in transition for 27 fast-break points. Maxey scored from everywhere on the court and the Jazz even employed a full-court box-and-one defense at times to try and slow him.
“Tyrese played the whole second half and he was gassed. Tobias was gassed. I was burning timeouts everywhere I could just to get them some rest,” Philadelphia coach Nick Nurse said.
Maxey scored 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting through the first six minutes, setting the tone for a wide-open offense with Embiid.
“He got us going early on and created energy for us, making big shot after big shot,” Harris said.
In the second quarter, Maxey hit four free throws to cap a 13-3 run that helped the 76ers take a 71-61 lead into the second half. Maxey had 32 points and made all six of his 3-point attempts in the first half, a career high.
76ers: Host Brooklyn on Saturday night.
Jazz: Host Milwaukee on Sunday night.
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