PHILADELPHIA–The Philadelphia 76ers were able to pick up a 112-100 win over the Phoenix Suns at home on Saturday afternoon thanks to a big fourth quarter in order to pull away from the short-handed Suns.
That was mostly because Tyrese Maxey erupted. He had 11 points on 4-for-4 shooting while also drilling two triples in the fourth quarter to finish with 22 points for the game. He also had 10 assists and five rebounds to make up for a nondescript first half when it looked like he was settling and not being as aggressive as coach Nick Nurse would have liked.
“It’s not enough,” Nurse said bluntly after the win over the Suns. “He’s too good to have a quiet first half. He’s gotta not get into those modes where he’s not being more aggressive. I’m not criticizing him. I’m just trying to keep imploring that he needs to be more aggressive. He’s too good at beating people off the dribble. He’s too good a shooter to not take more chances. So we’re gonna keep working on that a little bit.”
The Suns deserve credit for bothering Maxey as Josh Okogie hopped off the bench and did a really solid job against him. However, Nurse is right. Maxey needs to be able to be more aggressive and score the basketball at a high clip for this group.
“Sometimes, it’s just trying to make the right play,” said Maxey. “It was a couple times today (Saturday), the right play was for me to shoot and I passed it, but I’m still trying to find that balance. My thing right now is I’m trying to pick my spots when to be ultra-aggressive and when to get to the paint, get Joel (Embiid) shots, get Kelly (Oubre Jr.) shots, Tobias (Harris), get them in the right spots, too. I think I’m doing a solid job of it right now.”
With that being said, Maxey was able to eventually find his groove. However, Nurse knows that his young point guard is much better than what he showed at the beginning of this one.
“I’m glad that he bounced back,” Nurse stated. “We started calling a few things for him. You probably saw we ran the same play seven straight times and then we flipped it around and ran the same thing going in the other direction and he came off and hit a 3 one time and then drove it one time and laid it in.”
When Nurse noticed that Maxey wasn’t getting involved in the offense as he should, that is when he began calling plays for him and getting him involved. That is what ended up happening in the fourth quarter for Philadelphia.
“Again, sometimes when the ball isn’t finding you or you’re not as aggressive as we’d like you to be, we try to manufacture some things to get him aggressive,” Nurse said. “That was a little bit of what was going on in the fourth.”