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Sixers Notebook: Cam Payne rates Tyrese Maxey’s Game 5 performance among very best

PHILADELPHIA — Over a dozen NBA seasons divided among six teams, Sixers guard Cameron Payne has been on the floor for a lot of larger-than-life playoff performances, particularly for guards.

Paul George going off on a jump shooting jag. Klay Thompson setting what then was the NBA record with 11 triples. Deandre Ayton’s electric, game-winning “Valley Oop” dunk with a fraction of a second left.

Topping Payne’s list is teammate Tyrese Maxey’s 46-point outburst Tuesday in Game 5 against the Knicks, including two crucial triples in the last 28 seconds to force overtime and eventually a victory.

That wasn’t an easy pick, either. During the 2015-16 playoffs, when Payne was a first-round draft pick of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Thompson scorched his team from downtown.

“Man, we were up 3-1 in the series and we lost in seven games,” Payne said after the shootaround Thursday. “It was the Klay Thompson game, Game 6, that knocked our hopes off.”

Two seasons ago with the Phoenix Suns, Paul set a record by making all his shots to lead Payne and the squad to a Game 6 playoff win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

“Fourteen-for-14, that’s something different,” Payne said of the shot making. “Especially all jumpers.”

With the Suns, Payne was on the floor for center Ayton’s controversial “Valley Oop” dunk on an inbounds pass lifting the team to a last second, 104-103 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. Ayton leaped to gather the pass from Jae Crowder above the rim, then stuffed it. It would have been offensive goaltending had it not occurred on an inbounds pass.

“Valley Oop, a live game winner, that’s up there with Tyrese’s,” Payne said. “But I’ve still got Tyrese’s above that one. That was sick, man. An and-one (triple, four-point play), that’s big time. And we won the game. That’s big time.”

Regardless of what happens in the rest of the series, Maxey’s game was one for the ages. The Sixers hoped to build on it as they approached Game 6 of their first-round series Thursday with the Knicks.

Maxey’s production against the Knicks puts him in the NBA record book with icons Jerry West, Michael Jordan and LeBron James, as well as Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard, Luka Doncic, Kevin Durant, Trae Young and Devin Booker. Only 10 NBA players have produced at least 46 points, five rebounds and nine assists in a playoff game as Maxey did.

“That’s No. 1 in my eyes,” Payne said of Maxey’s Moment. “I’ve had some happen to me but this one right here was one of the biggest ones.”

Maxey entered Thursday averaging a Sixers-high 32.4 points and 45.0 minutes in the playoffs. Teammate Joel Embiid was averaging 31.8 points and a career-high 41.6 minutes.

For the Knicks, Jalen Brunson was averaging 34.4 points. He’s also averaging 43.8 minutes and 29.6 field goal attempts, the latter, far and away the most in the playoffs.

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The Sixers-Knicks’ survivor opens the Eastern Conference semifinals next Tuesday against the Indiana Pacers.

The Pacers closed out the Bucks, 120-98, in the Thursday evening matinee to win the series 4-2.

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Sixers veteran Nic Batum’s snuff of Rick Brunson in regulation got the Sixers to overtime of Game 5.

Also under the radar was the way Batum stuck a hand in the face of an airborne Brunson, who had committed to a shot but quickly changed his mind and threw the ball behind his teammate and out of bounds for a huge turnover in overtime.

“I’ve always thought he’s been a guy that will just do a little bit of everything,” Sixers coach Nick Nurse said of Batum. “He’ll defend, he’ll pass, he’ll shoot. He’s a good leader, all that kind of stuff. He thinks he can impact the game sometimes without even scoring. He does that just about as well as anybody. Just a great competitor.”

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NOTES >> The Sixers starting lineup consisted of Kelly Oubre Jr., Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid, Kyle Lowry and Maxey. The Knicks went with Brunson, Josh Hart, Isaiah Hartenstine, Donte DiVincenzo and OG Anunoby. … Drexel Hill-born Mark Lindsay was part of the 3-man crew officiating Sixers-Knicks. The Malvern Prep and West Chester University grad now resides with his family in Phoenixville.

Source: Berkshire mont

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