Sunday night, the Philadelphia 76ers took Game One of what will be two consecutive home games against the Indiana Pacers. Behind a career night from budding star Tyrese Maxey, the Sixers secured their eighth straight win and are now the owners of the best record in the NBA.
The Sixers have something special in Tyrese Maxey
This is not a surprise for those who have been paying close attention to the Philadelphia 76ers over the past few years. Maxey has improved each and every season he has been in the league, and after taking a major leap in the year that saw Ben Simmons leave the Sixers’ lineup, He has done so once again after James Harden’s move to the West Coast.
Coming into the night, Maxey was averaging 25.9 points per game, an improvement of over five points per game from last season. Following his 50-point outburst against the Indiana Pacers Sunday night, Maxey is now averaging 28.6 points a night during this young season, good enough for a spot among the top-10 scorers in the NBA.
Maxey has improved in a variety of ways this season, but seemingly as each game passes, his confidence grows more and more. Head coach Nick Nurse has mentioned several times throughout the season how he continuously wanted to see more and more aggression out of the young point guard; as the season progresses, it seems those continuous requests are being answered.
“Shout out Mike Muscala”
As any Sixers fan can tell you, there is one person Philadelphia has to thank for the arrival of Tyrese Maxey in town — after Maxey himself; that man is none other than former Sixer Mike Muscala. For those unaware, back during the 2019-2020 NBA bubble season, the Philadelphia 76ers found themselves without a first-round selection in the NBA Draft.
The only pick in their possession was a top-20 protected pick via the Oklahoma City Thunder that few expected to even convey to Philadelphia based on those protections.
It came down to the Thunder’s penultimate game against the Miami Heat, which itself came down to the final minutes, in which Mike Muscala hit two enormous three-point shots to close out the game. The Thunder would then go on to lose their season finale against the Los Angeles Clippers. All this to say, if it were not for Mike Muscala, Tyrese Maxey would not be a member of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Fans have made mention of this for years, thanking Muscala for one of the signature moments of the Process era. While Muscala may not consider this among his career accomplishments, the City of Philadelphia is certainly grateful, and the young star even joined in on the fun postgame by giving the former 76er a shoutout.
Though absent, Kelly Oubre was a large part of this win
Most, if not all, have become aware of the reason that Kelly Oubre was not among the Sixers on the court tonight. Following the terrible incident from yesterday evening, Oubre is still on the mend, as he will remain for an unnamed significant time going forward.
After the game Sunday night, Maxey made sure to note that despite his accomplishments from the evening, the game was not about himself but about his brother, who could not join the celebration.
Though Oubre has only been with the Sixers for roughly a month and a half, he has encaptured the hearts of the fanbase and his teammates. Through hard work, determination, and a natural charm, Oubre has become a favorite of many in Philadelphia, which makes what happened to him Saturday that much more difficult to stomach.
The love shown to Oubre by Maxey postgame is a sentiment shared by many on the Sixers, those within the organization, and the many whose hearts go out to Oubre and his family during this time.
While playing without him in the lineup is difficult for many reasons, the Sixers seem focused on carrying on for the sake of their wounded brother in the meantime. They will look to maintain that approach this Tuesday as they once again host the Indiana Pacers.