They might seriously have to consider retiring Mike Muscala’s number.
The Sixers made it eight in a row Sunday night when they took down the Indiana Pacers 137-126 thanks to one Tyrese Maxey. Maxey dropped a career-high 50 points, shooting 20-of-32 and 7-of-11 from beyond the arc to get there. He also grabbed seven rebounds, five assists and three blocks.
Joel Embiid had another big night against the Pacers as well, going for 37 points along with 13 rebounds and six assists.
Here are some thoughts at the buzzer.
- It was an extremely unfortunate situation that put him there, but Nico Batum fits like a glove in the starting lineup. He started the game picking up Tyrese Haliburton full court, impeding Indiana from the quick pace they like to play. His defense was tremendous early, chasing down Benedict Mathurin to block him in transition and poking another ball loose for a steal later in the quarter.
- Philly opened the game spamming the left side pick-and-roll between Maxey and Embiid, daring the Pacers to stop it. They could not, as it took four straight possessions to even stop it once, forcing the Pacers to call a timeout only four minutes into the game.
- Embiid was on absolute fire to start the game, making six of his first seven shots and putting up 19 first-quarter points. What he does to Myles Turner 2-4 times a year is just flat out bullying. The Sixers led by 11 after a high-scoring opening quarter.
- It looked like Maxey was trying to match Embiid shot for shot, as he hit his first five shots of the quarter to get himself to 19 points as well. He got all the way to the rim much easier than he had against Boston or Detroit. Once the Pacers decided to under screens, he was punishing them with pull-up threes. Embiid and Maxey became the fourth pair of teammates since 1997 to both score 25 points in a first half.
- What’s been crazy about Maxey’s season so far is that he’s making the leap on both ends of the floor. He’s made up for his lack of size by getting his hands everywhere, and he’s been able to do so without fouling. He’s had plenty of plays he’s broken up without getting whistled like this block on Haliburton.
- The Sixers lead was as big as 19 at one point, but a couple lackadaisical minutes allowed the Pacers to cut it to single digits. It was T.J. McConnell picking up full court that disrupted the Sixers’ offense and caused a couple of turnovers. The Sixers went into halftime with just a nine-point lead.
- Indiana went into the break playing with way more intensity and they came out of the half with more intensity as well. The Sixers were still sleepwalking through their sets, and a couple of threes from Haliburton made it a two-point game only a few minutes into the second half.
- For as good as his first half was, the third was probably the worst quarter Embiid has ever played against Myles Turner. He shot 2-of-9 and turned it over twice in a classic case of Embiid trying to do too much at once. Turner was pretty good on the other end too, scoring 12 points in the third.
- Even when he’s hitting shots, De’Anthony Melton cannot catch a break this year. Philly finally started to get some non-Maxey points when Batum and Melton each hit a three. Melton drained a second one the next time down the floor, but his toes were on the line and it was overturned to a two-pointer. Philly went into the fourth clinging to a one-point lead.
- Like, three times this week Maxey has had a block that’s looked like the best defensive play of his career. He had two tonight, with the second breaking up a transition opportunity and then getting down the court to somehow find Danuel House for a lob. It’s unreal how much better he’s gotten on that side of the ball as well.
TYRESE MAXEY CHASE DOWN BLOCK pic.twitter.com/pck7m36HyW— Esfandiar Baraheni (@JustEsBaraheni) November 13, 2023
- This was far from Tobias Harris’ best game from an efficiency or shot selection standpoint, but the buckets he cleaned up were big all night. He finished with 18 points, shooting 9-of-20 and it felt like all of those makes were putbacks. An entire night of turning garbage into gold.
- While Maxey was continuing to cook (and Maxey did not stop cooking), it was a quietly great fourth quarter for Paul Reed. Because of a lack of stoppage, Embiid ended up sitting over eight minutes to start the quarter. The Sixers finally got some stops during this stretch, as he checked back into the game with a 10-point lead.
- Run it back. The Sixers and Pacers will go at it again at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday. This time with a bit more stakes as it will be the Sixers second in-season tournament game.