NBA Playoffs

Sixers add Maxey (illness) as a 2nd questionable All-Star ahead of Game 2 in NY 

Maxey missed the Sixers' Monday morning shootaround at Madison Square Garden.

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NEW YORK — The Sixers added a second questionable All-Star before Game 2 of their first-round playoff series against the Knicks.

Tyrese Maxey was not present at the Sixers’ shootaround Monday morning because of an illness and the team listed him as questionable for its game that night.

The Most Improved Player finalist played 37.5 minutes per game this regular season and 44 on Saturday in the Sixers’ series-opening loss. 

Maxey had a rough second quarter in Game 1, shooting 2 for 9 from the floor in the period, but he was central to the team’s second-half comeback push. The 23-year-old guard scored 21 points after halftime on 9-for-12 shooting. 

The Sixers went 4-8 this season without Maxey. One of those victories was a memorable 79-73 win at Madison Square Garden on March 10 as Maxey progressed through the NBA’s concussion protocols.

As of late Monday morning, Joel Embiid (left knee injury recovery) remained questionable. De’Anthony Melton (back injury recovery) and Robert Covington (left knee bone bruise) were out. 

According to Sixers head coach Nick Nurse, Embiid told him that his left knee felt “pretty good” Sunday following a troubling Game 1 play that caused the superstar center to miss the final 2:37 of the second quarter. 

After the Sixers’ defensive rebounding struggles in the series opener, Nurse said stints where Embiid plays alongside backup big man Paul Reed are a “possibility” moving forward. 

“For me, I just make sure that I get my driving lanes and I get to the dunker (spot),” Reed said before shootaround of his approach in lineups with Embiid. “And sometimes cutting. I just try to stay moving … to get one of the other guys open. They’re going to always double (Embiid), so it’s just about making sure that somebody’s open.”

Given their stars’ suboptimal health, the Sixers would especially benefit from stronger secondary offense. Kyle Lowry impressed with a 12-point third quarter in Game 1, but the Knicks’ bench outscored the Sixers’ by a 42-7 margin. 

Starters Kelly Oubre Jr. and Tobias Harris each shot 3 for 7 from the floor. 

“One thing we talked about as a whole team is on the offensive end, getting to different actions,” Harris said Monday. “And don’t be as predictable as we were from time to time in (Game 1). But for me personally, I check the film out and see different spots that I could be able to shoot and be more aggressive, or let it fly a couple of times from three. So I take all that into consideration and get ready for the game.”

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