Sixers love Tyrese Maxey-James Harden combo with Joel Embiid on the bench

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PHILADELPHIA–The Philadelphia 76ers have been able to be successful when Joel Embiid goes to the bench in the first two games of their Round 1 series with the Toronto Raptors and that has been a massive win for them, especially in a Game 2 win.

In the past, whenever Embiid goes to the bench to get a rest, the Sixers then plummet. They begin to falter and it looks very discombobulated out on the floor.

However, the Sixers have turned their focus to a combination of Tyrese Maxey and James Harden when Embiid goes to the bench and they have been able to have a lot of offensive success with it.

“It’s tough,” said Maxey. “Either I’m coming off or he’s coming off. You gotta make a decision. Do you wanna switch? Most of the time, they don’t wanna get off James’ body and give him any space so they don’t and I’m getting downhill. If they switch, then he has a matchup or I have a matchup so we just try to get downhill and make plays for ourselves or make plays for others as well.”

Maxey has had a ton of success in the first two games of this series averaging 30.5 points and shooting 68.8% from the floor and 57.1% from deep. Those numbers are absurd while Harden is averaging 10 assists through the first two games showing off his elite playmaking ability.

“I’ve been saying it literally for three weeks, but they never do it,” said coach Doc Rivers. “We never had any practice time to work on it so I thought this week, we literally did it every day, and showed them how effective it can be. What we were trying to show them is that they both can be in it. One can have the ball on one possession and on the other possession, the other one can have the ball, and they can just play off of each other.”

The chemistry between Maxey and Harden has been terrific as of late after a tough start to the Harden era. Philadelphia was not able to have many practices after they acquired him at the deadline and he did not play with the team until after the All-Star break.

“The schedule was unfavorable for our practice schedule so we really didn’t get any practices in to where we could figure out spacing and continuity with James so that week that we just had before the playoffs started was huge for us,” Maxey added. “I think we got to do a lot of different lineups, figure out a lot of different spacing, and get the plays in. The chemistry went up.”

It is funny to see 6-foot-3 Maxey set screens for either Harden or Embiid or even Tobias Harris at times.

“I honestly don’t remember setting screens, but I came here and I was setting step ups for Joel Embiid earlier in the year and I was like ‘This is crazy’,” laughed Maxey. “Whatever they need me to do, that’s what I’m gonna go out there and do. Step up for Joel, step up for Tobias, step up for James, and it just creates matchup problems.”

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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