New York: Tyrese Maxey scored 33 points as the Philadelphia 76ers overturned a 21-point deficit to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 125-119 on Friday.
Maxey found his scoring touch after the interval with 24 points in the second half as the Sixers extended their winning streak to five games.
New recruit James Harden enjoyed another influential performance with 25 points, 11 assists, and three turnovers to maintain his unbeaten start with the Sixers.
Joel Embiid added 22 points while Georges Niang had 17 off the bench and Tobias Harris added 15.
Darius Garland led the Cavaliers scorers with 26 points while Isaac Okoro added 22. Jarrett Allen and Cedi Osman had 20 points apiece.
The Cavs appeared ready to run away with the game after an explosive first quarter, erupting for 43 points to go 21 points clear before Philadelphia gradually clawed back the lead to trail 71-63 at the break.
Maxey then sparked the Sixers into life after halftime as Philadelphia outscored the visitors 62-48 to close out the win.
Maxey said the Sixers’ tighter defensive display after the break proved the difference.
“It was all about stops,” the 21-year-old said. “They had something like 40 points in the first quarter and that’s way too many points.
“Once we settled in and started getting stops we turned the game around.”
Sixers coach Doc Rivers meanwhile praised the contribution of rising talent Maxey.
“He’s just playing great,” Rivers said.
“I’m on him a lot about being aggressive. Yelled at him about five times tonight. The more he’s aggressive, the better we are.
“He’s a fearless kid, he’s playing great, and he’s getting great shots. He’s been great for us.”
The win lifted the Sixers to second in the Eastern Conference at 39-23 before Saturday’s road trip against leaders Miami in Florida.
Elsewhere Friday, Giannis Antetokounmpo delivered a 34-point display as the Milwaukee Bucks outlasted the Chicago Bulls 118-112 in another heavyweight Eastern Conference duel.
Antetokounmpo hauled in 16 rebounds and finished with five assists and two steals as the reigning champions showed their pedigree with a gutsy win on the road.
Jrue Holiday added 26 points for Milwaukee while Khris Middleton finished with 22 as the Bucks moved into third place in the standings at 39-25, leapfrogging Chicago in fourth.
Zach LaVine (30 points) and DeMar DeRozan (29) led the Chicago scorers.
The Bulls led by eight points early in the fourth quarter but were unable to ram home the advantage in the closing stages as Milwaukee finished the stronger.