Philadelphia 76ers: 2 Takeaways from season-saving Game 5 win vs Knicks

Tyrese Maxey rose up to the occasion and saved the Philadelphia 76ers season, while Joel Embiid was again a non-factor offensively in the closing minutes
Philadelphia 76ers v New York Knicks - Game Five
Philadelphia 76ers v New York Knicks - Game Five / Elsa/GettyImages

The Philadelphia 76ers are used to dramatic endings after having played 5 games against the New York Knicks in the playoffs. With them being 29 seconds away from elimination, some fans might start thinking about the offseason, but Tyrese Maxey had a different opinion. The first-time All-Star was the savior in a team that struggled in another close playoff game.

Joel Embiid appeared gassed and disengaged and the 76er were seeing history repeat in another playoff contest. However, Maxey rose to the occasion ending the contest with a playoff career-high 46 points and 7 threes — 4 of them during the fourth quarter when he chipped in 17 points.

Maxey was relentless, attacking the Knicks' big bodies non-stop despite being in the floor for the 29 consecutive minutes in the second half and the overtime. Maxey sat on the bench for just 66 seconds in the game.

Philly struggled in many ways; the turnovers were piling up as the visitors committed 7 of their total 16 in the final quarter. Nevertheless, Maxey kept attacking, the ever-reliable Nic Batum made some great defensive plays and the Sixers tied the game after their star-guard scored 7 consecutive points in the last 25 seconds.

Maxey has been working triple, averaging a staggering 32.4 points and 7.2 assists registering also a true shooting percentage of 62 percent against one of the best defenses in the NBA. Following a number of dramatic up-and -down battles, the Philadelphia 76ers won Game 5 without Embiid being the team's catalyst. That's should be a good sign for the upcoming games.

This is the decision the Philadelphia 76ers should make

It's really tough seeing Joel Embiid struggling as his conditioning remains in question. The big man from Cameroon is really putting the effort, but his injuries have been caught up to him, especially against a relentless team like the New York Knicks. The Knicks are swarming the paint, the officials are less willing to blow the whistle, and Embiid bleeds for every bucket he gets.

Maybe, it is something to think about going forward after the postseason on how Embiid can be at 100% health entering the playoffs. That's the real challenge for the organization and the player, as the Philadelphia 76ers are a different team when Embiid is at his best. Clearly, in the current state, Embiid is actually gasping to finish games.

He had a massive overhaul of turnovers in the closing quarters and his scoring production dipped as the Sixers are a minus-19.3 with Embiid on the floor during clutch time in four games against the Knicks, per Embiid is clearly sluggish in the closing moments of the games and that's has to do with the injuries he's dealing and the little time he was given to recover from a knee surgery this season.

Embiid has already many miles under his belt and entering the latter part of his career, maybe it is time for him to change some aspects of his game to extend his time on the floor. The Kansas product has the ability to use his size inside and outside the paint with his incredible touch, perhaps it's time to tone down a bit the bruiser inside him and become a more elegant inside-outside force.

Regardless, Embiid needs to figure out how to be effective offensively for the time he will be on the floor. The only contest that was kind of one-sided in the series was when Embiid went for 50 in Game 3. For the time being, the Philadelphia 76ers need Embiid to hold his own in Wells Fargo Center and replicate some Game 3 magic to tie the series.