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Without Maxey, Summer Sixers suffer first loss

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It was clear the Summer Sixers were missing the Summer League scoring leader.

2021 Las Vegas Summer League - Philadelphia 76ers v Boston Celtics Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

The Summer Sixers quest to remain undefeated is over.

Without Tyrese Maxey, the Sixers looked a little lost in a 100-80 defeat to the Celtics at Cox Pavilion on Saturday. The loss drops them to 2-1 while Boston moves to 4-0.

Maxey left Las Vegas to host his basketball camp in his hometown of Garland, Texas. His absence was pre-approved by the team.

Here are observations from the loss.

Missing Maxey

Without Maxey, the Sixers went with veteran point guard Frank Mason III in the starting lineup. It was the first we’ve seen Mason after missing the first two games with a right groin strain. He was solid creating off the dribble and setting up his teammates, but looked rusty.

Rookie Daeshin Nix had a couple nice moments in backup duty. Nix, a high recruit that opted to play in the G League last season, is still just 19 years old. He flashes ability as a playmaker in the pick-and-roll and his shot looks decent.

Both Mason and Nix seem like candidates to get a camp invite and/or an Exhibit 10 deal. The Sixers lack playmaking. Both guards can make plays off the dribble.

But it was clear the team missed Maxey. The 20-year-old was leading the Las Vegas Summer League in scoring and was in attack mode through the first two games. The Sixers really lacked an aggressor.

On the Wings

Isaiah Joe didn’t have a particularly good shooting night (5 of 15, 5 of 13 from three for 15 points), but he continues to show some growth as a secondary ball-handler. He had four assists and hit on a couple nice pocket passes out of the pick-and-roll. It’s not something that the Sixers will count on Joe to do a lot of if he gets into the rotation this season, but that potential makes him more intriguing.

First-round pick Jaden Springer had a few nice moments, including a nice reverse layup, but really didn’t stand out. You would’ve liked to see the 18-year-old be a little more aggressive in looking for offense without Maxey, but that wasn’t the case. He was just 3 of 11 for six points. He has yet to truly breakout offensively.

Braxton Key is an interesting guy. His ceiling is likely a glue guy at the NBA level, but there are things to like. He’s a decent shooter and does a lot of little things. Head coach Brian Adams has used him as a small-ball big and it’s been an intriguing role for him and shows off his versatility.

The Bigs

Paul Reed did Paul Reed things. He was active on both ends, recording another double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds). It’s a little surprising that we haven’t seen Reed used more at the five. His natural and better position might be the four, but he seems like an ideal small-ball big in the modern NBA — especially with the Sixers bringing in Andre Drummond and the team still lacking a stretch five.

It’s been a weird Summer League stint for second-round pick Filip Petrusev. Petrusev captured the MVP of the Adriatic League mostly because of his offensive prowess, but the other end is where he’s made his mark. He had an impressive on-ball block of Bruno Fernando and has shown excellent timing and instincts protecting the rim. It’s been a struggle for Petrusev on the offensive end. He’s had a difficult time finishing against more athletic bigs and hasn’t flashed much of the offensive skill that was expected.

Unfortunately, we still haven’t seen the Sixers’ other second-round pick, Charles Bassey. Bassey still hasn’t signed his rookie NBA contract. This would’ve seemed like ideal development time. He’s an intriguing young big, but it appears we won’t see him until the preseason.