The 76ers began Friday’s win-or-go-home Sport 6 in opposition to the Hawks trying very very similar to a crew that had blown a 26-point lead in its earlier outing. Philadelphia gave the impression to be shell-shocked as Atlanta constructed a 20-8 lead in the primary quarter.
So, with six minutes left within the opening interval and the Hawks on the verge of breaking the sport vast open, who flew in and saved the Sixers? Seth Curry and Tyrese Maxey, after all. The 2 guards mixed to attain Philly’s ultimate 14 factors of the primary quarter, reducing the deficit to a extra manageable seven factors.
“The lead the opposite evening was simply such a tricky loss. For them to leap on us — which, actually, I anticipated, you knew they have been going to come back out sky excessive — I simply actually believed if we might climate the storm, lots of vitality could be spent,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers mentioned. “I believed from that time on we managed the sport.”
Each Curry (24 factors, 8-of-14 capturing) and Maxey (16 factors, seven rebounds off the bench) stepped up repeatedly in Sport 6, permitting the 76ers to safe a 104-99 win at a packed State Farm Enviornment and ship the collection again to Philadelphia. With All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons combining for simply 28 factors on 11-of-30 capturing from the sector and coping with early foul hassle, it was the function gamers who made star turns with the season on the road.
“[Curry has] been large,” Embiid mentioned. “His shot-making skill has been making lots of issues occur, opening the ground for everyone else. Like I mentioned, he is been large. . . . With out Tyrese, we additionally do not win that sport. Maxey was large tonight. He made performs, whether or not it is offensively or defensively, pushing the tempo when Ben was in foul hassle. I am actually glad for him.”
After serving to to maintain the 76ers in placing distance, Curry led crucial run of the sport. He scored or assisted on each level of a 14-0 spurt to start out the third quarter, giving Philly a lead it would not relinquish.
Maxey, a 2020 first-round select of Kentucky, equally got here up huge within the second half, working because the lead ball handler when the specter of Atlanta’s “Hack-A-Ben” technique loomed massive. Maxey additionally challenged Trae Younger on protection, and whereas he did not win each battle, he did pressure the Hawks star (34 factors, 13-of-30 capturing) to work on almost each possession.
“I truly thought, aside from Ben, Tyrese did the very best job on Trae due to his velocity,” Rivers mentioned. “And that was one of many issues we talked about. The child, I hold speaking about him, he has struggled in lots of methods defensively this 12 months, however he retains working. He retains watching movie with [assistant coach] Sam [Cassell]. And I believed tonight was most likely . . . his single greatest defensive evening of the season for him. Simply actually happy with him.”
Tobias Harris, who bounced again from a depressing Sport 5 with 24 factors within the victory, credited Maxey for offering a lift “the minute he checked within the sport.”
“He simply performed with that, principally, freeness on the market,” Harris mentioned. “He wasn’t frightened of the second, wasn’t shy in any respect, acquired to his spots, simply gave us that huge enhance of vitality on the market. That helped us. He was the spark of the sport for us as a complete.”
In addition to each Curry and Maxey carried out, the Sixers will want Embiid and Simmons to contribute far more within the collection finale than they did in Sport 6. Within the playoffs, although, even probably the most top-heavy groups want unlikely heroes to offer that “huge enhance.”
On Friday evening, it was Curry and Maxey who donned the capes.