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Tyrese Maxey talks willing Sixers past Spurs, bucket to force overtime

The Philadelphia 76ers had a great opportunity staring them in the face on Sunday evening. The Miami Heat had lost to the Indiana Pacers earlier in the day and a win would vault the Sixers in front of the Heat for the No. 7 seed in the East.

Philadelphia found itself trailing the San Antonio Spurs 111-109 with 2.8 seconds left after a Julian Champagnie triple. Coach Nick Nurse called timeout and drew up a great play to get Tyrese Maxey open for a layup to force overtime.

Philadelphia needed two overtimes to get it done, but the Sixers walked away with a thrilling 133-126 win to move up in the standings.

Maxey finished with a career-high 52 points in 53:57 of playing time. He wanted to leave everything out on the floor for Philadelphia.

“I said it like, I don’t know, four or five games ago,” Maxey told reporters after the win. “We know how important these games are. It’s playoff time, postseason time, and I didn’t want to let us lose. I just wanted to do whatever I could. Exert all my energy and I can live with the result after that. No matter how tired, no matter how sore, I wanted to go out there and try and help us win.”

It was a phenomenal performance when considering what was at stake for the Sixers. There also was no Joel Embiid to bail them out if anything were to go wrong. Maxey wanted to lead the way in this one.

“The biggest thing is he did not want to come out,” added Nurse. “I tried to sub him out a couple times in the rotation and he just kept saying ‘Coach, I’m good.’ He really wanted to give us a shot to try and win it, right? Now, obviously, 53 minutes is a lot but he was determined to try to get help us get a win and I thought he was as fast as I’ve seen him in a while. He really was turning on the jets a lot, I thought, and make good things happen.”

As far as the final play of regulation is concerned, Maxey was able to shake free and Nic Batum threw an absolutely perfect inbounds pass to get him a shot and tie the game. If that pass from Batum is even slightly off, then it’s picked off and the Spurs would have stolen the win.

“We have this synergy,” Maxey said of the final play. “He does a good job of knowing like late clock situation, how to give me the ball. We messed up one early in the game. It was funny, it was on me, and he was telling me ‘Just loop around, and I’ll get it to you’ so thankfully, he’s a great inbounds passer and he got it to me.”

Maxey once again lifted the Sixers on his shoulders when they needed it. He now will look to get the job done in the final three games to lift the Sixers out of the play-in tournament.

Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire