It was a game that never should have been played. But once it started, it was hard to take your eyes off Tyrese Maxey.
With the 76ers down to just seven available players, Maxey, the 76ers’ explosive 20-year-old rookie guard, made his first career start Saturday afternoon and piled up 39 points on 55 percent shooting along with seven rebounds, six assists, two steals and just two turnovers in the 76ers’ 115-103 loss to the Nuggets at Wells Fargo Center.
Let’s take a look at what Maxey achieved Saturday!
ELITE COMPANY: Maxey became the 11th player in NBA history with at least 35 points, five rebounds and five assists in a game before his 21st birthday. LeBron James, Luka Dončić, John Drew, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Brandon Jennings, Antoine Walker, Trae Young, Devin Booker and Jamal Murray also did it.
COME ON, REFS: Maxey is the 15th player in NBA history to score 39 or more points without a free throw attempt. The others are Dale Ellis, Stephen Curry, Rick Barry, D’Angelo Russell, Mark Aguirre, Dennis Scott, George Gervin, Chuck Person, Paul George, Klay Thompson, Alex English, Wally Szczerbiak, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Hakeem Olajuwon.
IVERSON WAS PRETTY GOOD: Maxey is the fifth 76er with a 35-point, 5-assist, 5-rebound game in the last 20 years. Joel Embiid has had six, Jimmy Butler and Jrue Holiday one apiece and Allen Iverson had 54 of them.
HE’S ONLY 20: Tyrese Maxey is the youngest player in 76ers history with a 35-point game. At 20 years, 66 days, he’s one year and 250 days younger than Allen Iverson was when he scored 35 against the Hawks in 1997.
TWO HALL OF FAMERS AND TYRESE MAXEY: Maxey is only the third 76ers rookie (technically the second) with 39 points in a game. Iverson had games of 50, 44, 44, 40 and 40 points – consecutively - as a rookie in 1996-97, and Hall of Famer Hal Greer had 45 points for the Syracuse Nationals in a game in 1959 before the franchised moved to Philadelphia.
HE’S JUST GETTING STARTED: Maxey is the eighth player in NBA history with 35 points, five assists and five rebounds in one of his first 10 career games. The others are Frank Selvy, Oscar Robertson, Geoff Petrie, Alvan Adams, Tom Gugliotta, Iverson and Jennings. Only Maxey and Jennings have done it in the last 20 years.
IT TOOK A.I. 65 MORE GAMES: This was Maxey’s 10th career game. No 76er had ever scored 39 points this early in his career. The earliest any 76er previously scored 39 points was Greer’s 45 points at Boston in 1959 in his 54th career game. Iverson didn’t reach 39 points until his 75th game and then he scored 44, 40, 44, 50 and 40 in his next five games.
AND HE SHOT 55 PERCENT: Maxey shot .546 from the field, which is 13th-highest in 76ers history by a player scoring at least 39 points. He’s the 14th player in NBA history to score 39 points at the age of 20 or younger and shoot 55 percent from the field. The only 20-year-olds in history to score 39 points, shoot 55 percent from the field and add at least six rebounds and assists are James, Dončić and Johnson.
BEST IN 23 YEARS: That missed lay-up with 13 seconds left cost Maxey the Wells-Fargo Center rookie scoring record of 40 points, which Iverson did twice five days apart in April of 1997, the first year the 76ers played at the Wells-Fargo Center.
AND HE ONLY HAD TWO TURNOVERS: Maxey is the fifth rookie in NBA history to score 39 points with six or more assists and two or fewer turnovers. The others are James, Curry, Jordan and Donovan Mitchell.