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Philadelphia 76ers v Toronto Raptors

Recap: Raps fall to .500 as Maxey leads Sixers to 112-90 victory

The Sixers played the second game of the doubleheader at Scotiabank Arena without Joel Embiid. That didn’t stop Philadelphia, especially Tyrese Maxey, from leaving Toronto with a split.

No Joel Embiid. No problem.

Tyrese Maxey continued his mastery over the Toronto Raptors as he exploded for a career-high 44 points in a 112-90 victory over Toronto. The Philadelphia 76ers’ electric 3rd-year guard shot a perfect 10-for-10 in the first half, including 7 threes, leading to 27 points.

Before the game, Nick Nurse spoke highly of how his Raptors had played over the first five games. He pointed out that — other than the first half against Miami last Saturday — Toronto had played 9 out of 10 solid halves of basketball. It’s safe to say that the first half against the Sixers on Friday night would qualify under the not-so-good department. The late scratch of Embiid (knee soreness) would surely change the game plan, but not in a way that Raptors fans would expect.

Maxey’s first-half explosion was only part of the reason Philadelphia had a comfortable 65-48 halftime lead.

Sixers Head Coach, Doc Rivers, spoke pre-game about focusing on their defense and transition, “We have to be better at stopping the ball.”

The Sixers answered the call by limiting Toronto to zero transition points — just 48 hours after allowing the Raptors to score 29 fastbreak points on 10-for-10 shooting.

Pascal Siakam continued his impressive start to the season with 26 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists. O.G. Anunoby was also outstanding as he chipped in with 19 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block. There’s not much to say about the rest of the Raptors.

If Webster’s Dictionary needed a photo for the term, “off-night,” they could probably use Fred VanVleet’s boxscore. He shot 0-for-11, missed all 8 of his three-point attempts, and even missed two of his three free throws. He looked sluggish at times and even air-balled a three-pointer from the corner when the Raptors were attempting a fourth-quarter comeback.

This was the second game of Toronto’s second consecutive doubleheader. While the Raptors also split two in Miami, this split with Philadelphia certainly leaves a sour taste in many Raptors fans' mouths.

On Wednesday, the Raptors hit 9 of 22 threes, scored 11 in transition, and had zero turnovers. On Friday, they only hit 4 of 11 triples while only attempting 2 shots in transition (and scoring zero), and turned the ball over on their first offensive possession — Toronto ended the first half with 10 turnovers.

The second half saw a fired-up Raptors team pushing the pace. Siakam scored a fastbreak layup — Toronto’s first points in transition — and Gary Trent Jr. hit a semi-transition three to help wake up the crowd. The Raps defense was also more active, keeping Philly scoreless for almost five minutes to start the half.

Anunoby was the catalyst for Toronto’s third-quarter comeback. With the Raptors building momentum, Anunoby timed a double-team on Harden perfectly, getting the steal and slamming a breakaway dunk to narrow the lead to 70-64.

Maxey, as was the case all night, settled his troops with four straight points and helped Philadelphia enter the fourth with an 81-70 lead.

The Raptors had one more push in the fourth. After Boucher scored to cut the lead to 91-81 with 6:12 remaining, Maxey capped off his sensational night with an unreal run. He first hit a driving bank shot from an angle that could be best described as part-elbow, part-dunkers-spot, all-Tim-Duncan. Then he hit two consecutive heat-check threes. After a Raptors timeout, he stole a Siakam pass and forced a fastbreak foul that led to two free throws — capping a personal 10-0 run that essentially ended the game.

This was the kind of performance the Raptors naysayers predicted would happen from time to time. When the transition points dry up, will the half-court offense step up? On a night when the Raptors didn’t have to worry about a 7-foot MVP candidate patrolling the paint, the team picked a bad time to have such a disappointing performance.

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