The NBA Playoffs have finally begun, and the Philadelphia 76ers have already made a statement as they took Game One against the Toronto Raptors in convincing fashion. By a score of 131—111, the Sixers started the first round of the playoffs on the right foot as they pursue their first NBA championship in nearly 40 years.
The 76ers Were Firing on All Cylinders
There was no shortage of high-quality performances from Philadelphia as the team saw a complete performance offensively. While Joel Embiid and James Harden could have been a bit more efficient from the field, they were a force to be reckoned with in every other area of the game. Embiid dominated the boards — 15 rebounds while Harden was a playmaking maestro — 14 assists.
There were a lot of exciting performances by the 76ers last night from the stars in particular, but Tobias Harris deserves just as much recognition. Harris excelled last night, scoring 26 points while also picking up six rebounds and six assists.
To show one step further just how much of a team effort last night was for Philadelphia, Georges Niang and Shake Milton led an efficient bench effort scoring eight and ten points, respectively. One of the primary concerns heading into the playoffs, the Sixers are hope that the bench can continue this level of play for the remainder of the postseason.
Tyrese Maxey Was Ready for the Moment
While Joel Embiid and James Harden both had impactful games, it was Tyrese Maxey who really stole the show in his first playoff start. It was an exciting day for the NBA as there were many young stars showing out in the first round but perhaps none more impressive than Maxey’s performance. Maxey exploded for 38 points on 14/21 shooting, including 5/8 from deep.
From the jump, the energy and confidence with which Maxey approached this matchup were clear. The 21-year-old guard understood that if the Sixers were to thrive in this series, they would need him to play at his highest level, and he delivered. While the series is far from over, if Maxey continues this level of play, it may not be too long before it is.
As if there were any doubt before, Tyrese Maxey has shown that he has what it takes to be the heir to Joel Embiid.
Up Next, Game Two
The Philadelphia 76ers will next face the Toronto Raptors Monday night, April 18th, at 7:30 PM. As it stands, the 76ers are seven-point favorites over the Raptors, and the over/under sits at 217.5 for Monday night. Toronto will likely be without Thaddeus Young, Gary Trent Jr. as they’re currently considered doubtful. Scottie Barnes has already been downgraded to out, which has bumped the spread even further in the Sixers’ favor.
While they may not be able to duplicate their success from Game One, anything less than a victory in Game Two should certainly be considered a disappointment at this point.