The Philadelphia 76ers' last westbound trip of the regular season was not kind to them. James Harden didn't play and Joel Embiid was absent in the final game, a loss to Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. The Sixers have lost three straight games for the first time since early December. But it's not all bad in the eyes of Tyrese Maxey.
Maxey had a big scoring outburst against the Nuggets, continuing a scorching hot March. Paul Reed more than held his own with Jokic. Tobias Harris and Jalen McDaniels had solid games. Even end-of-bench guys like Jaden Springer, Montrezl Harrell and Furkan Korkmaz contributed to an impressive run that almost flipped the result of the game. Those efforts are a legitimate positive takeaway for Maxey.
“I feel like we fought,” the Sixers star said to reporters after the game. “That group at the end, they fought their tails off at the end to get back in it. I think what we can take from this is in the first half we were in the game big time. One thing we can take from this is how deep we are. Guys like [Danuel] House, who hasn't played in a couple games, comes in and contributes. P-Reed had a hell of a game. De'Anthony [Melton] started. The list goes on and on, you know what I mean? So, I think that's one thing that we can take from this.”
Maxey went off in the second quarter, scoring 20 points to keep the Sixers step-and-step with one of the NBA's best offenses at full strength. He finished with a game-high 29 points. Embiid once called Maxey the best player on the team and he backed up that claim with an impressive performance as the top option against the Western Conference's top dog.
Despite the impressive effort, the Sixers will definitely hope Embiid and Harden can return to action soon. The efforts from the role players in Denver underscore how good Philly can be with its stars in the lineup.