Tyrese Maxey Sixers Media Day 2021. Photo by Austin Krell/The Painted Lines.

The Philadelphia 76ers (39-23) defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers (36-27) 125-119. Philadelphia was able to overcome a 21 point deficit and extend their winning streak to five games. The Sixers will take on the 1st seeded Miami Heat in the second part of their back to back. 

Tyrese Maxey

Tyrese Maxey put on a show at Wells Fargo Center tonight and starred in Philadelphia’s comeback win. Maxey led all scorers with 33 points (on 87.0 true-shooting percentage), 5 assists, and 2 steals. This electric performance also added to Tyrese’s scoring resume. According to Sixers Stats, he tallied up four straight 20 point performances. That is the longest streak of his young NBA career. 

It’s no coincidence Maxey is having so much success since Harden’s Sixers debut.

He and James have developed so much chemistry in such a little amount of time. That is the main reason why Tyrese dominated the second half. Maxey is great off the ball, so Harden’s playmaking and court vision greatly benefits him. We saw this in the third period as Maxey excelled drilling catch and shoot threes off of Harden’s passes. 

Tyrese also excelled in the pick and roll as well as creating his own shot. Maxey was very aggressive as he constantly drove to the basket using his quickness and athleticism to score and draw fouls. Tyrese went on a 9-2 run by himself in the 4th quarter that included two step-back threes and a slam in transition. This energetic run ultimately got Philadelphia the victory. 

Darius Garland

Darius Garland had a superstar kind of performance, despite Cleveland’s third consecutive loss. The all-star led Cleveland in scoring with 26 points (on 54.5 effective field goal percentage) and 19 assists. That is just another impressive outing for Cleveland’s star point guard. Garland is averaging 29.5 points per game (on 62.5 effective field goal percentage) and 11.5 assists per game in his last five contests. 

Darius picked apart Philadelphia’s struggling defense in different ways, especially in the first half. Garland showcased his abilities as a three-level scorer on multiple occasions.

The Cleveland guard nailed four pull up three-pointers from his own elite shot creation. Garland constantly attacked the interior with his crafty dribble penetration and ability to absorb contact and score. He can score in many ways as a slasher such as floats, reverse layups, and drawing contact. 

The biggest element of Garland’s performance was the two-man game between him and Jarrett Allen. Jarrett’s ability as a roll man to effortlessly cut to the basket mixed with Garland’s elite passing and court vision dominated Philly’s defense. If the Sixers foolishly blitzed the pick and roll, Darius found a rim-running Allen for the easy two. Darius’ ability to do this makes him an elite dynamic point guard that’s very hard to contain. The Sixers experienced that in this game, but fortunately overcame it. 

James Harden

James Harden continued his offensive brilliance in Philadelphia’s fourth straight win since his debut. Harden racked up 25 points (on 81.8 true shooting percentage) and 11 assists. It seems that Harden is making franchise history game after game and tonight was no exception. He’s the third player in Sixers history to average 25 points and 12 assists over a four game span since Allen Iverson and Wilt Chamberlain.

James’ versatile scoring and playmaking was crucial in Philadelphia’s win over Cleveland. Harden found success in attacking the basket and effortlessly getting to the foul line because of his rim pressure.

Harden shot 11-12 from the free throw line for reference. He’s extremely gifted at splitting through the defense, dictating the pace, and controlling his body to score at the rim. James also connected on timely step-back triples and hit a clutch mid-range shot in the fourth quarter.

Harden and Georges Niang formed an effective partnership in this game. Niang was the perfect player to pair Harden with as he’s another player who benefits from Haren’s on-ball gravity. With this, Niang gets many quality looks from beyond the arc. Harden dished the ball to Georges at the perimeter on multiple occasions and he came through. Niang finished with 17 points and shot 5-8 from three coming off the bench. He and Harden carried the Sixers in the later half of the third quarter and briefly obtained the lead.