Oh yeah, they still had to play a basketball game tonight.
Fresh off being named to his first All-Star game, Tyrese Maxey returned to the Sixers’ lineup and led them to an 127-124 over the Utah Jazz. He went for a career-high 51 points, shooting 17-of-27 from the field and 7-of-9 from behind the three-point line.
Tobias Harris gave the Sixers 28 points, shooting 13-of-21 from the floor.
Here are some thoughts at the buzzer.
- Talk about an energized return. Maxey scored the Sixers’ first 10 points as he went on to hit four threes in the opening frame. He got in rhythm by hitting two off the catch before showing off with a couple of step-backs.
16 PTS on 4/4 from deep from Tyrese Maxey pic.twitter.com/a0EC9EbMiC— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 2, 2024
- Despite it taking over seven minutes for someone not named Maxey or Harris to score, Philly had no problem putting points on the board the entire quarter. They moved the ball well, having 11 assists on the 15 field goals they made.
- Their defense certainly wasn’t as sharp. They were very susceptible to losing John Collins on a lob attempt. Mo Bamba especially struggled as the small Utah lineups dragged him out into space. Eighteen of Utah’s 32 points in the first came in the first, but the Sixers led by seven.
- The Jazz switched things up, throwing out a double-big lineup with Walker Kessler and Kelly Olynyk, and Bamba’s size felt almost essential. He acquitted himself only slightly better defending a more traditional non-shooter.
- Maxey didn’t look much different, as he opened the quarter on another heater. He continued to nail threes while the rest of the team shot 2-of-9 from deep in the half. When his threes are falling, it makes it so much easier for him to get to the basket. He had 32 in the first half, a career-high.
Maxey in-and-out dribble + the body control— NBA (@NBA) February 2, 2024
He's got 23 on 9/11 FGM early in the 2Q!
PHI-UTA on TNT pic.twitter.com/Rr8YUzXtcZ
- While Harris didn’t provide any assistance from deep in the half, he did go 8-of-10 from inside the arc, good for 16 points. Now’s a good a time as any for him to get in a rhythm with his midrange bag. The Sixers went into halftime with a 10-point lead.
- The shaky defense only looked shakier to begin the second half, as Utah opened it on a 9-2 run. It took them over six minutes and Bamba hitting Collin Sexton in the throat for the Jazz to miss a shot in the paint.
- The Sixers’ offense was finally slowed down as the Jazz were able to keep the ball out of Maxey’s hands for a bit. Only three Sixers scored in the quarter. Maxey did get going, scoring Philly’s last nine points of the quarter with a couple of impressive finishes.
Maxey tough reverse finish for the 40-piece pic.twitter.com/9aVeTYr3sY— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 2, 2024
- Utah snatched the momentum right back when Jaden Springer bit on an Olynyk pump-fake, sending him to the line for three free throws. He converted on all three, tying the game up as the frame ended.
- Springer did make up for that foul with stellar perimeter defense on Jordan Clarkson. He opened the fourth by forcing both a shot-clock violation and a steal a few possessions later. Clarkson finished the game shooting 5-of-15.
Maxey wins the foot race down court and dunks for 45 PTS on the night!— NBA (@NBA) February 2, 2024
PHI-UTA | 4Q on TNT pic.twitter.com/1RMIRtPPNe
- It was surprising to see Nurse go back to Bamba at all in the fourth with both bigs struggled tonight, though to his credit he had two blocks in the quarter. However just like their matchup in Philly, the Jazz shot 15-of-18 at the rim per Cleaning the Glass. They generated and converted a ton of high-percentage looks.
- They were very shorthanded tonight, but Maxey played the entire second half. That doesn’t feel great for someone coming off an ankle sprain.
- It wouldn’t be a undermanned Sixers game without a big shot from Patrick Beverley. He was quiet for most of the night, but this three-pointer was just one of two field goals the Sixers made in the last four minutes of the game.
- Big fan here of the Sixers fouling up three when the Jazz were out of timeouts, though Maxey cut it a bit close the second time when Clarkson almost got into his gather.
- The Sixers return for a four-game homestand, kicking it off Saturday at 6 p.m. ET against the Brooklyn Nets. After missing the last game with a knee injury, Ben Simmons is expected to be available.