NBA playoffs: Tyrese Maxey leads frantic 76ers rally past Knicks to save season, stun Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden was ready to explode Tuesday night. Tyrese Maxey had other plans.

The 76ers' All-Star guard scored 46 points, including seven in the frantic final 26 seconds of regulation, to power Philadelphia to a 112-106 overtime win over the New York Knicks and stun the MSG crowd. The win staves off elimination for the 76ers and sends the tense first-round series back to Philadelphia for Game 6 with New York leading, 3-2.

The 76ers looked defeated in regulation with New York holding a 96-90 lead with 28 seconds remaining. But Maxey scored an and-1 3-pointer to cut New York's lead to 96-94.

Then, with 8.1 seconds left on the clock, he pulled up from 34 feet to tie the game at 97-97 and send the game to overtime.

In the extra session, the Knicks took a 102-97 lead on five straight points by Jalen Brunson, who was locked in a duel with Maxey all night. But the 76ers battled back to take a 103-102 lead and rode a 9-0 run to a 106-102 advantage. Brunson then converted a flagrant foul on Joel Embiid into a four-point possession with a free throw and 3-pointer to tie the game at 106-106.

But the 76ers scored four unanswered points to retake the lead at 110-106 with 15.1 seconds remaining. Maxey iced the game with two made free throws with five seconds remaining, and the 76ers survived to play another day.

Madison Square Garden belonged to Tyrese Maxey Tuesday night. (Brad Penner/Reuters)
Madison Square Garden belonged to Tyrese Maxey on Tuesday night. (Brad Penner/Reuters)

The win spoiled what was shaping up to be a coronation for these Knicks in front of a frenzied MSG crowd. Those in attendance featured a who's who of Knicks alumni, including Patrick Ewing, Carmelo Anthony, Bill Bradley, Walt Frazier, Larry Johnson and John Starks.

Brunson looked ready to further cement his name among those greats with a sensational effort that included 40 points, six assists, three rebounds and three steals. He hit big shots down the stretch in regulation then gave the Knicks the early advantage in overtime.

But the night belonged to Maxey, who outshone his Knicks counterpart and his fellow 76ers All-Star Joel Embiid to lead Philadelphia to victory. Maxey finished with 46 points, nine assists and five rebounds. He shot 17 of 30 from the field and 7 of 12 from 3-point distance. After hitting the two game-saving 3s in regulation, he made another to spark Philadelphia's 9-0 run in overtime.

That run was the last and decisive in a back-and-forth game that saw the lead seesaw back and forth from the opening quarter. The 76ers took the early lead with a 10-2 run to open the frame. The Knicks then started the second quarter on an 18-2 run to seize control and go into halftime with a 49-43 advantage.

The 76ers then started the third quarter with a 10-2 run that the Knicks would answer in the fourth with a 10-0 run of their own. In the end, it was Maxey's late 7-1 run in regulation and Philadelphia's 9-0 run in overtime that secured the win.

Maxey's effort allowed the 76ers to overcome a subpar offensive outing from Embiid, who shot 7 of 19 from the field in a 19-point effort. He added 16 rebounds and 10 assists for a triple-double. He also turned the ball over nine times.

The 76ers also overcame a hobbled head coach. Per SNY's Ian Begley, Nick Nurse injured a finger when he slammed his hand in frustration during the game. He couldn't draw up plays in the second half because of the injury. It wasn't immediately clear if he suffered a break or a sprain, per the report.

Three-point shooting — mainly Maxey's — proved to be the difference in the game. Philadelphia shot 15 of 39 from long distance (38.5%) while New York connected of 10 of 36 (27.8%) shots from beyond the arc. The 76ers also secured a 46-40 rebounding advantage.

The series shifts back to Philadelphia for Game 6 on Thursday, where the 76ers will once again look to fend off elimination.