The Philadelphia 76ers opened up their first-round series with the Toronto Raptors with a commanding 131-111 victory, thanks largely to Tyrese Maxey's stellar performance. Maxey paced Philadelphia with 38 points, and became the youngest Sixers player to score 30-plus points in a playoff game in the process. He also received a good amount of help from Joel Embiid (19 points, 15 rebounds), James Harden (22 points, 14 assists) and Tobias Harris (26 points, six assists). Overall, Philadelphia looked prepared and executed its game plan well.
On the other side of things, Toronto looked overmatched for the majority of the first game. Pascal Siakam led the way for the Raptors with 24 points and seven assists, and OG Anunoby added 20 points and seven rebounds, but ultimately their combined production wasn't nearly enough. They also lost star rookie Scottie Barnes to an ankle injury, and his status moving forward is very questionable.
With just 48 hours between Games 1 and 2, Toronto will have to make some major adjustments if they hope to tie up the series and avoid falling in a 2-0 hole. With that said, here's all the information you need for Game 2 between Philadelphia and Toronto.
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(4) Philadelphia 76ers vs. (5) Toronto Raptors
- When: Monday, April 18 | 7:30 p.m. ET
- Where: Wells Fargo Center -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- TV: TNT | Live stream: TNT app
- Odds: PHI -300; TOR + 240 I O/U 217.5 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
76ers: In the second game of the series, the Sixers should employ a simple "if it isn't broke, don't fix it" strategy. They played a nearly flawless Game 1 -- highlighted by the fact that they turned the ball over a total of just four times -- and they should look for a repeat performance in Game 2. That means continuing to get guys like Maxey and Harris ample looks on the offensive end, and continuing to take good care of the ball. The Raptors like to force turnovers and get out in transition, and if you can limit their ability to do that, like Philadelphia did in Game 1, then you'll give yourself a great chance of winning the game. Obviously, Toronto will make some adjustments heading into the second game, so the Sixers need to be prepared for that also.
Raptors: Their are two major questions for Toronto heading into Game 2. The first has to be how they're going to adjust their defense in order to try to limit Maxey's production. Toronto tried several different defenders on Maxey in Game 1, but none were able to stay in front of him. Ultimately, they were forced to trap him late in the game in order to get the ball out of his hands. Maxey's monster performance in Game 1 presents a tactical dilemma for Toronto moving forward in the series. It's clear that Maxey will require more defensive attention, but the Raptors are also clearly committed to paying ample attention to Embiid and Harden -- and rightfully so.
Now, Nick Nurse will have to figure out how to best allocate his defenders in order to limit the impact of the trio of Embiid, Harden and Maxey. And that's to say nothing of Harris, who was Philadelphia's second-leading scorer on Saturday night. If the Raptors afford too much attention to Maxey moving forward, they run the risk of letting one of the other guys go off, and therein lies the dilemma.
The second big question is Barnes' status. If he's out, the job gets a lot tougher for Toronto.
Toronto provided little reason for optimism in Game 2, as it simply looked outmatched by both Philadelphia's size and speed. And Joel Embiid didn't even have a monster performance. Nick Nurse is known for his ability to make adjustments, so the series certainly isn't over, but after how well the Sixers played in the first game, there's no reason to bet against them in Game 2. Pick: 76ers -7