Tyrese Maxey drops a 50 burger, continues to get all of Philadelphia excited that James Harden is gone
If Tyrese Maxey went for 50 points, as he did in the Sixers’ win over the Pacers on Sunday, the Philly fans would shine in any situation. But when Maxey puts on that kind of show on the same day James Harden drops another stinker, it’s sweeter.
We all know Daryl Morey wanted to play hardball with Harden, and to an extent he did, but getting rid of him, even before you factor in everything he got back , has been an add-on home run. . It has allowed Maxey to take full control of this Sixers team, which is now 8-1 as the No. 1 seed in the East.
Harden Cutters,, and 0-4 with Harden in uniform. On Sunday, Harden had 11 points on 12 shots, including 1-of-7 from 3. Get this: the Clippers lost the minutes he played by 28 while he won his minutes. did not play with 24.
That’s in line with the pull Harden’s system has had on a team that was in flux before they added him. Through four games, the Clippers have outscored Harden’s minutes by a cool 67 points. In every other minute this season, they have outscored their opponents by 85 points.
Check out the points-per-possession:
Sixers fans—hell, even real Sixers players—must be thrilled looking at those numbers and cheering at what Maxey is doing. He’s been the driving force behind coach Nick Nurse’s offense — an offense that seems to be moving along quickly compared to the paint-drying slog that Doc Rivers ran with Harden.
After Harden complained that the Sixers took advantage of him, and Joel Embiid rightly, if somewhat diplomatically, shot back that they gave “all possession to the ball,” it doesn’t beat me as a coincidence Embiid called Maxey. “The Franchise” on social media.
My guess is that Embiid was mostly sending that message to Maxey, but I find it hard to believe that he wasn’t just a little bit aimed at Harden as well. Everything Harden would like to think is for the Sixers, Maxey really is. Hell, Embiid scored 37 points on Sunday too. That’s 87 between the two.
That’s not going to happen every game, obviously, but the fact is that Maxey can be, and is used, in many more ways than Harden ever could. It’s faster. He is a better hunter. He moves more. The good vibes he brings are completely different from Harden’s gloomy experience, and the 76ers feel like a completely different team because of it.
“Usually myself in the mornings, I don’t go around. But [with Maxey], you can come in at seven in the morning, smiling, I’m like, ‘Dude you just woke up,’” Embiid said of his restless teammate. “That’s always the same energy. It doesn’t change. It changes everything, it sets the tone. ”
Yes, Harden and Embiid were a formidable two-man tandem, but the net benefit of such modest speed and the relative alienation of everyone else on the floor was not worth Harden’s price.
Maxey is doing his thing with his teammates, not at their expense. Everyone in Philly was more than happy to land Harden if they could with the Ben Simmons saga. Well, the same is true with Maxey, who would feel like an oxygen tank for a suffocating franchise even if he wasn’t playing like a legitimate MVP candidate.
It just so happens that it is. Maxey is averaging just under 29 points a game on 50/43/93 shooting splits. He made 20 of his 32 shots Sunday, including seven of 11 3-pointers.
Maxey is not a great defender, but he can be very useful; he’s like Jrue Holiday compared to Harden. And that is the prism through which the Sixers, and their fans, must look at Maxey right now. It’s more than just what it does for them; that’s James Harden No doing
Or, looking at it another way, what Harden Yes doing for the Clippers, who drank the same poison that Harden drank the Sixers Kool-Aid a few years ago. Sure, it’s early, but these signs have been here for a while now. Harden is a drag, and Maxey is really good. It’s not something that came out of nowhere, in any case.
If Harden thinks he’s happy to be out of Philly, he should check in with a few Philly fans. They can’t get the smile off their faces. And everyone in the basketball world who is not named James Harden understands why.