The Philadelphia 76ers needed a spark on Tuesday night in Los Angeles. The Clippers had retaken the momentum of the game after Philadelphia had a double-digit lead and it appeared that the Clips would take advantage of being at home and having their home crowd behind them.
Coach Doc Rivers went with an all-bench unit led by Tyrese Maxey and the third-year guard from Kentucky came up large in leading the Sixers to a 120-110 win over the Clippers. Philadelphia improved to 3-0 on this West Coast road trip, mostly due to Maxey’s play.
He scored the first 11 points of the fourth quarter for the Sixers, 13 for the frame in total, and he finished with 22 points off the bench. It was the second game for him in his new role as he continues to get adjusted.
“This is new,” Maxey told reporters after the win. “I kind of just went out there, and not trying to say I’m trying to wing it, but I’m trying to figure out different ways to impact. When you’re watching, you have to know the direction the game is going.”
This is a somewhat new role for Maxey. Sure, he came off the bench in his rookie season, but amid the Ben Simmons saga in the 2021-22 season, he had become a full-time starter as he look leaps and bounds forward.
Now, he has to revert back to being a reserve and be that sparkplug off the bench for the Sixers.
“In the first quarter, I think we were up a little bit when I got in and I think big fella was playing well,” Maxey added. “So I was kind of trying to feed him the ball a little bit when I got back in and then when I got into the third quarter, the energy and the tide had flipped. They had the momentum.”
Maxey entered the game in the third quarter at a critical juncture. Los Angeles had taken its first lead of the game in terms of being able to overcome what Philadelphia was able to on their end and Maxey had to change things back in the direction of the Sixers.
He and Georges Niang knocked down some big shots in order to get Philadelphia back in control and the Sixers ran away with it from there.
“I was telling Georges and them on the bench that this was gonna be a big stint from us because we had to maintain that lead back,” Maxey finished. “So when our starters were able to come back in, it’s easier on them.”
It seems like Maxey is adjusting quite nicely to his new role as the leader of the bench unit.