The Sixers took the court Wednesday night with another opportunity to close out their series against the Washington Wizards. Being without Joel Embiid was a significant loss, but the team was still more than capable of winning game five.
Multiple players stepped up to help soften the blow of playing without the MVP finalist. The team fully embraced the "next man up" mentality and did their part to pull out a victory.
One of those players was rookie Tyrese Maxey. Despite this being his first taste of postseason action, Maxey continues to impress. Based on the confidence and swagger on the court, you wouldn't think this was his first experience in the postseason.
Maxey played 26 minutes in the series finale on Wednesday. In that time, he managed to rack up 13 points, six rebounds, and two assists. The first-round pick continues to strengthen his case of seeing more playoff minutes.
Similar to most of this season, teammates have praised the rookie for his play. Not only has Maxey become a fan favorite, but a favorite amongst teammates and coaches as well.
Seth Curry has never been shy to credit Maxey for the work he puts in on and off the floor. After game five, he said he feels that Maxey has never looked shy or scared of the moment in the bright lights of the postseason.
"The biggest thing is his confidence. He's got a good mix of humbleness and cockiness/aggressiveness. Every time he steps on the floor, whether he's playing good or he's playing bad, he has the same mentality, same approach of being aggressive," said Curry.
Matisse Thybulle later dove into how game five was just the latest example of Maxey making the most of an opportunity.
"That's kind of just been Tyrese the whole season. Every time the team has needed him, he has stepped up. I really don't see why he doesn't continue to do it. He's a great player for his age, and he's just going to get even better," said Thybulle.
Every time Doc Rivers has played Maxey, he has made it harder not to play him more. The rotation is likely to start shrinking now for the second round, but it feels like we haven't seen the last of Maxey.
One thing is for sure, Tyrese Maxey has a bright future in this league for years to come.
Kevin McCormick covers the Philadelphia 76ers for South Jersey's 97.3 ESPN and Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCNBA.