NBA: Maxey magic fires Sixers past Knicks, Bucks stay alive

AFP , Wednesday 1 May 2024

Tyrese Maxey produced a 46-point gem as the Philadelphia 76ers stunned the New York Knicks 112-106 in overtime to keep their NBA Eastern Conference playoff hopes alive on Tuesday.

Tyrese Maxey
Tyrese Maxey reacts after his fourth quarter heroics helped Philadelphia keep their playoff series against the New York Knicks alive. AFP


Maxey led the Sixers back from the brink of defeat in the fourth quarter with a late burst of scoring before dominating in overtime to ensure a game six back in Philadelphia.

The Knicks, leading the best-of-seven series 3-1 heading into Tuesday's game, had looked poised to clinch after Jalen Brunson helped the second seeds take a six-point lead with 29 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

But Maxey drained a three-pointer from 24 feet and then hit a stunning 34-footer from the logo with nine seconds left to send a pulsating duel into overtime.

It looked as if the Knicks had reclaimed the initiative after Brunson scored five points to give New York a five-point lead before a raucous Madison Square Garden.

Yet Maxey and NBA MVP Joel Embiid had other ideas, launching a 9-0 run to give the Sixers a 106-102 advantage. New York pegged it back to 106-106 but the Sixers regrouped and pulled clear again to seal victory.

"Season on the line, we fought for 53 minutes and never gave up," Maxey said.

"Even when we were down late guys still went out there and made plays -- that was big time."

A pumped-up Maxey could be seen roaring in defiance after helping the Sixers take the game to overtime in the fourth quarter.

"I was saying some things that my grandma probably wouldn't like," he said. "I'm a happy guy but I absolutely hate losing."

Maxey's 46-point haul included seven three-pointers while Embiid posted a triple-double of 19 points, 16 rebounds and 10 rebounds.

Tobias Harris added 19 points for the Sixers while Kelly Oubre Jr. finished with 14.

Brunson led New York's scoring with 40 points while Josh Hart had 18 and O.G. Anunoby 17.

Game six is in Philadelphia on Thursday.

Bucks trounce Pacers

In other games, the injury-hit Milwaukee Bucks stayed afloat by beating the Indiana Pacers, winning 115-92 to extend their series to game six.

Milwaukee, trailing 3-1 and missing injured stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard, looked to be heading for an early postseason exit after Indiana raced into a 31-23 first-quarter lead.

But the Bucks cut loose though in the second and third, outscoring Indiana 64-36 to take control.

Khris Middleton and Bobby Portis led Milwaukee with 29 points apiece while Malike Beasley added 18.

Tyrese Haliburton top scored for Indiana with 16 points but endured a frustrating night against a sterling Milwaukee defensive effort.

Game six takes place in Indiana on Thursday.

In Cleveland, Donovan Mitchell rattled in 28 points -- including 14 in the fourth quarter -- as the Cavaliers ground out a 104-103 win over the Orlando Magic to take a 3-2 lead in their Eastern Conference first round series.

Orlando had fought back from 2-0 down to level after recording emphatic wins in games three and four in Florida.

But Cleveland dug deep to ensure they will head back to Orlando for game six on Friday with a chance of clinching the series.

"It's not gonna be pretty but it's the playoffs," Mitchell said after Cleveland's win.

"The fourth quarter -- that's what I do. But I've got to play better for my group.

"We've played well at home as a group. Now we've got to go down there in a hostile environment and handle our business."

Paolo Banchero led Orlando's scorers with 39 points, eight rebounds and four assists.

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