ATLANTA — Tyrese Maxey didn’t appear the least bit concerned about his shooting slump.
“It’s the same shots I’ve been shooting,” Maxey said Friday morning. “It’s about staying confident, staying in the gym and keep working.”
A tireless worker, the 76ers point guard shot the ball here during Thursday’s off day in preparation for Friday night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena.
That’s a good thing, considering his recent shooting woes. The second-year player has shot 23-for-77 (29.8%) in his last five games heading into the contest with the Hawks. On Wednesday, Maxey finished with a season-low six points on 3-for-13 shooting.
And even though he’s been slumping for five games, the focus has been on Maxey’s play since Joel Embiid’s return. He’s shot 10-for-40 (25%) in those three games, including going 2-for-9 (22.2%) on three-pointers. Maxey was the focal point of the offense while Embiid was sidelined nine games after testing positive for COVID-19.
“It’s nothing about a different role,” Maxey said. “I think everybody goes through stuff, missed shots. You don’t let it get to you. You are a professional at the end of the day. You will work on your game, and it will come to you.
“As of right now, what I try to do is help my team win. My shot is not falling, so I try to create big plays for others, play good defense, rebound and be the best teammate.”
Maxey and reserve power forward Georges Niang were the only Sixers to play in all 22 games going into Friday’s tilt. His 35.5 minutes played per game were the most on the team. Maxey averaged just 15.3 minutes a season ago while playing in 61 of 72 regular season games with eight starts.
But he denies hitting a wall or being fatigued.
“My body feels pretty good,” Maxey said. “We have a pretty good medical staff. They’ve been on me about treatment and different things like that. So I’ve spent a lot of time with them and kind of getting my mind fresh and my body fresh as well.”
Coach Doc Rivers said Maxey has been great, noting there have been times the 21-year-old has shown fatigue. But Rivers added that he needs to know when to shoot, when to be aggressive and what type of shots to take.
“We’ve seen that the last four, five games,” Rivers said. “Then he settled a lot. Overall, he’s been great. Defensively, he’s been getting better. He’s a sponge. He listens, a lot of positive traits trails that you love.”
Embiid has wrist taped
Joel Embiid had a bandage on his right wrist during Friday’s shootaround.
The Sixers center injured his wrist in Wednesday’s 88-87 loss to the Boston Celtics while being hacked on a play by reserve center Enes Freedom. Embiid finished that game with a season-low 13 points while shooting 3-for-17.