The Philadelphia 76ers took game 1 in round 1 against the Toronto Raptors 131-11. Tyrese Maxey led all players with 38 points including 21 points in the 3rd quarter. Tobias Harris added 26 and James Harden added 22 points and 14 assists. NBA scoring champ and the people's MVP Joel Embiid struggled shooting the ball going 5 for 15 from the field and 0-2 from beyond the arc, but added 15 rebounds to help the Sixers to a blowout victory.
Pascal Siakam led all Raptors with 24 points. OG Annuoby had 20, Fred Van Leet added 18, rookie Scottie Barnes had 10 assists to go along with his 15 points.
Without question the star of the game was Tyrese Maxey. His best attribute was his speed. When watching his play, he was all over the court and increasing the pace so much. Maxey's speed helped Harden find more open passes that led to his 14 assists.
On top of having incredible speed, he was shooting like he was Steph Curry all game. He was 14-21 from the field and 5-8 from 3.
All eyes were expected to be on Joel Embiid heading into this series. Even though Embiid struggled offensively, he was a giant presence on the defensive side of the ball. 15 rebounds including 4 offensive rebounds, helped Embiid keep a lock on the boards. Even though Maxey barely missed, having the presence on the boards was a huge benefit.
Heading into the playoffs, the narrative regarding James Harden is surrounded by his previous playoff experiences. Harden was about to get a double-double in the victory including a game-high 14 assists. Like most hates, they only want to focus on how he was not the leading scorer. However when you make plays like this all game and it helps Maxey go off for 38 and you have a blowout win in the playoffs, I do not see any struggles.
The biggest surprise for me was the solid game from Tobias Harris. He added 26 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. After the departure of Ben Simmons, Harris struggled to step up into the #2 role and when Harden arrived, failed to find his role. We all know Tobi is capable of this kind of performance. Looking past the stats, Tobias looked way more comfortable on the court Saturday night. He was calling for the ball, not afraid of any contact, and played like the all-star we know he is.
The 76ers will look to take a commanding 2-0 lead Monday night. Game 2 is going to be a huge game. Heading to Toronto with a 2-0 lead without star defensive player Matisse Thybulle will be huge. As expected Thybulle struggled offensively. He had some nice looks from 3, but as always was an influence on defense. Missing him in games in Toronto will be tough, which makes Game 2 a must win.
Game 1 told us a few things. Yes Embiid is the center piece of this team. However, the depth on this roster is much deeper than we thought. Embiid was 4th in scoring for the Sixers, but with the help of Harris, Maxey, and Harden, the Sixers were still able to pull off the 20 point victory.