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Maxey outduels Morant as Sixers win OT thriller over Grizzlies

Tyrese Maxey was brilliant as the Sixers outlasted one of the hottest teams in the NBA.

Memphis Grizzlies v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

With Joel Embiid resting, the Sixers needed players to step up against one of the hottest teams in the NBA.

And that they did.

Tyrese Maxey was brilliant in a thrilling 122-119 overtime win over the red-hot Grizzlies at the Wells Fargo Center Monday. The win, their fifth straight, improves the Sixers to 31-19. They’ll host the Wizards on Wednesday.

Embiid, Furkan Korkmaz (left knee soreness) and Shake Milton (lower back contusion) all missed Monday’s game. Ben Simmons (personal reasons) remains out.

Here are a few takeaways from Monday night.

First quarter

  • The Grizzlies tried to pick on Seth Curry early with the bigger Ziaire Williams. The Sixers were up to the challenge, especially Andre Drummond, whose help defense was outstanding.
  • Another strong start for Tobias Harris who’s really upped his game recently. Doc Rivers did well to put Harris in actions that got him away from Jaren Jackson Jr. Harris also had a couple nice stops on Jackson. He’s really locked in.
  • Well, if Matisse Thybulle is trying to get on the All-Defensive First Team this season, this is some good tape to put out there. He’s been harassing Ja Morant, holding the All-Star guard to 3 of 7 and four turnovers. This block was a beaut.
  • What a quarter for Tyrese Maxey. Memphis couldn’t take contain his speed drives and Maxey did well finishing at the rim. He also looked to push the ball in transition more with Embiid out. His shooting progression continues to be impressive as he hit another step-back three in a mismatch against Brandon Clarke off a switch.
  • Drummond was a huge reason for the Sixers’ impressive start. The veteran big did a more than admirable job filling in for Embiid, with six points, six rebounds and four assists. Maxey led the way with 11 points while Harris had seven. Sixers took a 39-30 advantage into the second thanks to excellent ball movement and hot shooting.

Second quarter

  • Isaiah Joe with a pair of treys and he got hit on both. It happens enough where you have to consider that a skill for Joe. He then made a great cut off a Harris double for a layup. Sixers lead was extended to 17 on a Charles Bassey lob.
  • I will never understand why Doc Rivers ever uses a zone. They’re just not good at it, especially with Thybulle on the bench and Simmons not in the building. Grizzlies cut the lead to 49-41.
  • Maxey having a hell of a night. Had an outstanding recovery block against Desmond Bane and then bailed out a poor offensive possession with a beautiful baseline fadeaway,
  • The Sixers have been so good taking care of the basketball this season, but the last two games have been rough. Turnovers allowed the lowly Kings to take a lead into the half Saturday. On Monday, eight turnovers let Memphis stick around.
  • You knew a serious Grizzlies run was coming as Memphis cut the lead down to one. The Sixers didn’t score a field goal for over five minutes before a Harris three late in the second quarter. Seth Curry just doesn’t look like himself. He was 0 for 5 and held scoreless in the first half.
  • What a terrific first half from Maxey, who puts an exclamation point on it with a gorgeous and-one finish. Harris (18 points, four assists) and Maxey (16 points) carried the offense.

Joe chipped in with 10 points in under nine minutes. Drummond played his role to near perfection with six points, 12 rebounds and five assists. The Embiid-less Sixers took a surprising 63-58 lead into the locker room.

Third quarter

  • And poof, that five-point advantage is erased by Bane, who hit a three and then crossed over Curry for a midrange jumper. This after Curry missed a corner three, then picked up a steal and missed another open three. Rough start to the half and Doc called a timeout. Bane up to 20 points.
  • Yeah, Morant is ridiculous. Steven Adams setting stronger screens on Thybulle and allowing Morant to get into the paint and use an array of finishes on Drummond.
  • Maxey and Harris both attacking the rim and carrying the load for the Sixers. If the offense goes through anyone else the possessions have typically been ugly.
  • Still hate the zone despite it working for a couple possessions.
  • Obviously we were all disappointed we didn’t get to see Embiid go up against one of the hottest teams in the league, but man, this game has still been a lot of fun! Maxey (24) and Harris (23) vs. Morant (25) and Bane (20) has been wildly entertaining. There were a few minutes where Morant and Maxey were going back and forth and it was delightful. Sixers up 84-80 after three. Hopefully we’ll be coming in for a landing.

Fourth quarter

  • A disastrous start to the fourth quarter for Bassey. He doesn’t corral a defensive rebound which leads to a Memphis basket. He then bobbled the ball at the top of the circle and then fouled Jackson Jr. for an and-one. Give credit to the rook — he blocked Jackson Jr. on back-to-back shots a couple possessions later.
  • Nineteen turnovers for the Sixers. Give credit to the Grizzlies, they’re one of the better teams at turning opponents over. But there were certainly a few of the unforced variety.
  • This is Harris’ most encouraging performance of the season. He’s up to a game-high 27 points against an excellent opponent and a fairly difficult matchup. At this point, I think it’s fair to say that Harris simply wasn’t healthy for a while. He doesn’t even look like the same player. Sixers clinging to a 95-94 lead.
  • Curry warming to the task here in the fourth with all seven of his points in the period. Maxey continuing his excellent play. Unfortunately, Morant and Bane aren’t slowing down. This definitely looks like a game that will go down to the wire.
  • No commentary needed:
  • Some huge baskets by Drummond, Harris and Thybulle. Morant and Bane have answers. Tie game with under a minute left, 108-108. Wow.
  • Drummond fumbles what looked like an open layup attempt and Morant draws a foul in transition on the other end. Morant makes 1 of 2 at the line to put Memphis up 109-108 with 46.2 seconds left.
  • A beautiful floater from Curry over Adams and the Sixers go back up 110-109 with 32 seconds left. All nine of Curry’s points have come in the fourth.
  • Maxey with excellent defense at the rim against Bane drawing a jump ball. Bane won the jump ball out to Morant, but Danny Green did well to challenge Morant’s floater. Drummond came down with the rebound with 17.1 left and he was fouled. Luckily, the Grizzlies were not in the penalty. Maxey was sent to the line with 14.9 left, making 1 of 2. 111-109 Sixers with 14.9 left.
  • Oh no. Morant blows by Thybulle and then finishes through Drummond for an and-one. Rivers challenged the call and it was not overturned. Tough break for Drummond. Looked like pretty good defense. Morant missed the free throw. Curry gets the rebound, pushes the ball up the floor since the Sixers have no timeouts, but is unable to convert a baseline fadeaway. Actually wasn’t a bad look. We’re going to overtime, 111-111.

Overtime

  • Rivers picked up a technical foul for going at the refs, believing Curry was fouled on the final possession. It looked clean. Probably not wise to spot the Grizzlies a point to start overtime over that call.
  • Man, not sure when Bane became Klay Thompson. The dude just can’t miss. Morant also carrying over his strong play to OT.
  • Green with a huge three to get the Sixers within one, 119-118, with under two minutes left. Then Drummond comes up with a huge block on Morant. Both teams with empty possessions and the Sixers get a chance to take the lead with 31.5 seconds left.
  • Maxey with a gorgeous drive to put the Sixers back up 120-119 with 25.3 left. He’s up to 31. What a game!
  • Wow. It sure looked like Morant got bailed out with a foul call after driving into the lane and picking up his dribble with nowhere to go. No matter! The Sixers close off a Morant drive and he finds Williams for a wide-open corner three that he misses. After a scramble for the rebound, the ball looked like it was heading out of bounds off the Sixers. Instead, Thybulle saved the ball along the baseline and tossed it all the way to the other end of the floor. Maxey converted a layup for an exclamation point.
  • THAT was one hell of a win. Maxey with 33 points and eight assists. He also had four blocks. This young man is on his way to stardom. Harris with 31 points, five rebounds and five assists. And it can’t be overstated how huge Drummond was. The big man put up 16 points, 23 rebounds, five assists, three steals, and two blocks. Morant and Bane put up 37 and 34, respectively, but the Sixers came through with the win. Wow.