Sixers beat the Toronto Raptors 131-111 in Game 1 of the First Round

Mike Livinston, Correspondent

The Sixers showed why they are a top team in the Eastern Conference when they defeated the Toronto Raptors 131-111 Friday in Game 1 of the first playoff round.

From the start the Sixers seemed to be clicking on all cylinders offensively. Tyrese Maxey once again proved he is the future of this franchise with a record 38 points. Joel Embiid and James Harden also made big contributions to the winning effort.

The Sixers were hot to start the first quarter, scoring 35 points through the opening frame. The second quarter wasn’t much different as the Sixers outscored Toronto by 10, further widening the margin. Though the Raptors made an early third quarter push, the Sixers were able to keep them at arm’s length for most of the quarter. Finally, the fourth quarter became the only really defensive quarter of the game, with both teams not scoring more than 25 each. This was certainly welcome from this Sixers team, which has historically struggled to get it going early in the playoff series. 

Tyrese Maxey was the story of the game, scoring a record 38 points with an additional four rebounds and two assists, also going 5-8 from beyond. Tobias Harris would surprise with a rather good 26-6-6 line in the win as well. James Harden played a big role as well being a great facilitator and also dropping 22. Joel Embiid would take a back seat to this one scoring just 19; nevertheless, he made a huge impact. Shake Milton and George Niang also contributed well with 10 and 8 respectively. Pascal Siakam and OG Annunoby would lead the Raptors with 24 and 20. Scottie Barnes and Fred Vanfleet also made big contributions to the Toronto effort. 

The good, the bad, and the ugly

There was obviously a lot of good coming from the Sixers, from their strong defense to great offense. The team exhibited some great play up and down the court. Nobody exhibited it better than Tyrese Maxey. The bad is actually not something that happened in the game. Instead it’s something that may happen. The Sixers have not exhibited this season the ability to play this well for long stretches of time, such as when they beat the Miami Heat after being heavily unfavored without Joel Embiid and James Harden and then they lost to the Pistons the next night with both Harden and Embiid playing.  The ugly for the Sixers was undoubtedly the bench. Only two players — George Niang and Shake Milton — scored over 5 points off the bench,  leaving the starters to fend for themselves in a high risk scenario. This is a factor that could be the Sixers downfall against higher level teams. 

The Final Word

Though there may have been some slight miscues along the way and some things still left up in the air, the Sixers were able to pull off a great first win of the playoffs tonight. Hopefully this can be a tone setter for this first round and allow Philly to get a 5-6 game win over Toronto. Time will tell.