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Tyrese Maxey, Sixers discuss steps taken to handle blitzing defenses

PHILADELPHIA — One big development for the Philadelphia 76ers continues to be the growth of Tyrese Maxey when handling opponents blitzing him when Joel Embiid is out of the game.

Maxey, still a young player continuing to take steps forward as a point guard, has to handle teams sending waves of aggressive defenders toward him whenever Embiid is out. Obviously, he becomes the focus of Philadelphia’s offense whenever the reigning league MVP is out of the game.

In Friday’s 112-93 win over the Sacramento Kings, Maxey handled the blitzes he received with ease and he did a great job of getting the Sixers into a rhythm. That is an area he has improved in at a high level to help Philadelphia succeed without Embiid.

“I think we’re kind of getting used to it,” Maxey said. “A lot of times when big fella doesn’t play, or during the rotations where he’s out the game, that’s what defenses have kind of gone to. The blitz, and the faceguard, different things like that. It’s just me kind of getting used to it.”

In the past, the Sixers would rely on James Harden to handle those blitzes. Now that The Beard is gone and the responsibility falls to Maxey, it’s on him to take those steps forward.

“It’s like my first time really seeing this, especially at NBA level,” he added. “I think guys like Paul Reed, guys like Mo Bamba did a really good job of catching it off the blitz and getting downhill, and making plays for others out there.”

Of course, the biggest factor in attacking a blitzing defense is organization. The Sixers did a great job of getting everybody organized and understanding where they need to be on the floor to attack the open spots in the defense.

“I think we got a bunch of open 3s out of it and a few other backup layups out of it too and that’s what we’re trying to do,” added coach Nick Nurse. “You’re either trying to catch and shoot wide-open threes or a rim attempt, and I thought our guys, again, were very well organized and they stayed in the play to make people available. You have two on you, you have to find the next pass and then you should be playing four on three from the back of that.”

Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire