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Tyrese Maxey is here to save our collective psyches

In our darkest hour, the Sixers’ only healthy All-Star unveiled a masterpiece Thursday night.

Philadelphia 76ers v Utah Jazz Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Things were bleak for Philadelphia 76ers fans on Thursday night. The Sixers had lost four straight games on their road trip, falling behind both the Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks in the standings. People were bringing up whether Philadelphia could avoid sliding all the way down into the Play-In Tournament. Then, the bombshell we were all waiting for dropped (in true buzzkill Sixers fashion, right as All-Star reserves were being announced): Joel Embiid had an injured meniscus, timetable for return unknown.

It’s only fitting that it was the night before Groundhog Day, because Sixers fans have seen this movie before. The options seemingly before the reigning MVP look to be surgery or resting for a period of time before trying to come back and manage the injury. Either way, the Sixers will be without Embiid or with a version of Joel that’s likely to be less than 100 percent for the rest of the season. For a year that had looked so promising at times, we were approaching the darkest timeline.

Luckily, one bright light is still there to shine through the darkness. Fresh off his own first All-Star nod, Tyrese Maxey was made available for Thursday’s contest in Utah after being sidelined for three games with an ankle sprain. Cool, Sixers fans who can stay awake until ungodly hours thought, at least there will be a reason to watch. Tyrese decided to give us so much more, though.

Maxey led the team to a 127-124 win over the Jazz behind a career-high 51 points, shooting 17-of-27 from the field, including 7-of-9 from three-point range, and hitting 10-of-11 free throws, all without turning the ball over a single time. It was a night to remember. Let’s look at some of the mind-boggling stats (most of these are courtesy of Stathead).

There are five players with multiple 50-point games this season: Joel Embiid, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Devin Booker, and Tyrese Maxey.

In terms of Philadelphia franchise history, Maxey joins Embiid, Wilt Chamberlain, and Allen Iverson as the only players to have multiple 50-point games as a Sixer.

Maxey and Iverson are the last two Sixers guards to score 50 points in a game.

The 51 points were also the most ever for a Sixer in Utah.

Here’s the Jordan shrug in question, in case you missed it.

Maxey scored 32 points in the first half last night, unsurprisingly a career-high for any half for him. He, Iverson, and Embiid are the only Sixers to score 30 points in a half during the play-by-play era.

Now let’s talk about the no turnovers part of it all. Maxey is the first player to have at least 50 points without turning it over since Luka Doncic on Christmas Eve, 2022.

He’s the second-youngest player to have 50 points without giving the ball away since they started tracking turnovers.

Maxey and Iverson are the only two Sixers ever to score 50 points without a turnover.

It certainly was a wonderful night, one that couldn’t have come at a more necessary time for Sixers fans. Thank you, Tyrese Maxey, for bringing us back from the brink of despair (and thanks as always to Mike Muscala, as well). Tyrese, enjoy the heck out of All-Star weekend in a couple weeks. You’ve earned it and then some.

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