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Nick Nurse’s Major Praise for Veteran Sixer After First Win vs. Knicks

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Earlier on in the week, the Philadelphia 76ers returned home to the Wells Fargo Center for their playoff series against the New York Knicks, looking to grab a pivotal game that would prevent their rivals from taking the set to elimination point.

While the story surrounding their win was rightfully focussed on Joel Embiid, who dropped a career playoff-high 50 points, doing so on an efficient 68 percent from the field, Sixers’ head coach Nick Nurse felt that another player on his team had a great impact as well; Cameron Payne.

Payne would check into the game in the second quarter and made his impact felt almost immediately, draining two shots from beyond the arc within his first two minutes of game time.

The veteran guard’s contributions would come at a point in which the Sixers were trailing the Knicks, which left the team searching for a source for the bench according to Nurse, with the 29-year-old being one of many options for him to choose.

“We were searching just a little bit there for some kind of spark off the bench. and certainly had that in our thoughts to maybe go with Cam first. and then still had Melt [De’Anthony Melton] in the back of our minds there a couple times too,” explained Nurse, “but Cam got going, so he kind of soaked up those minutes.”

The eight-year veteran hadn’t spent a minute on the court going into Thursday night’s match, which was a part of Nurse’s plan as he is trying to manage the health of his key players. The Sixers’ head coach highlighted that Payne took to the situation with a good head and some preparedness that helped him hit the ground running when his name was called.

“This is about rest and recovery and moving pieces, all he did was show me that he was very into it,” said Nurse, “Not discouraged that he hadn’t hit the floor yet, very focused on the game plan, you know, like a pro, and he went out there and played like he was ready.”

Payne would end the night with nine points on 57 percent shooting, which includes three makes from downtown which would be more than enough to help the Sixers start the process of evening up the series.

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