Home Cartoonist Maxey comes out for 38 points, 76ers beat Raptors in Game 1 | Sports News

Maxey comes out for 38 points, 76ers beat Raptors in Game 1 | Sports News


By DAN GELSTON, AP Sports Reporter

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Tyrese Maxey has Sixers fans screaming “Maxey! Maxey! Maxey!” after every electrifying game – and he’s crammed in a season’s worth in the breakout game of his young career. He wowed whirlwind layups, connected on 3-point Curry-range and did whatever he wanted at all times dismantling the Raptors.

He even tossed the ball he autographed as the 76ers game star into the stands – where a fan made a two-handed catch.

Everything worked out for Maxey.

Maxey scored 21 of his postseason-high 38 points in the third quarter and he hit five 3-pointers to lead Philadelphia to a 131-111 win over Toronto in Game 1 on Saturday night.

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“I think the only thing I’ll remember is that we won,” Maxey said.

Philly will remember much more.

James Harden had 22 points and 14 assists in his first Eastern Conference playoff game as a Sixer. NBA scoring champion Joel Embiid had 19 points and 15 rebounds. They combined to make just 11 of 32 shots from the ground.

Tobias Harris scored 26 points for the Sixers, trying to get past the second round for the first time since 2001.

They host Game 2 on Monday.

The opener belonged to Maxey. Maxey, 21, is the youngest Sixer to score at least 30 points in a playoff game.

“I’ve seen growth, man,” Harden said. “I’ve seen him go up and down and not really have consistent minutes last year in the playoffs to start and play a huge part in a championship contending team.”

Maxey was cool and confident in the third as he swept a late-period 32-footer for a 20-point lead that sent his teammates to the bench into a frenzy. The Raptors were stunned and had no answer for him: Maxey made 7 of 8 total shots, both 3s and all five free throws in 12 minutes.

“He just doesn’t play with anxiety,” coach Doc Rivers said. “There’s not much that bothers him.”

Pascal Siakam scored 24 points for the Raptors, who lost rookie Scottie Barnes to an ankle injury to compound what was already a miserable night. OG Anunoby scored 20 and Fred VanVleet added 18.

“Collectively, as a team, we just haven’t matched the intensity,” Siakam said.

The Sixers took control in the first 24 minutes and Maxey pressed the gas in the third against a team that won the season series 3-1 (with Embiid and Harden in the lineup for the final two).

Maxey, the 6-foot-2 bundle of energy in his second season out of Kentucky, led the fast start early with a pair of quick 3s and 10s that put the Sixers riding to a double-digit lead.

The Sixers are the team of Embiid and Harden, and as it goes, so are the Sixers. But Maxey gives the 76ers a Big 2 3/4 and was more than just a capable backup for traded Ben Simmons.

Maxey emerged as a reliable scoring option – 18.7 points and 48% on 3s after the All-Star break – and had been on target since the whistleblower against Toronto. He made 6 of 10 shots and his 15 first-half points were just about equaling his playoff record last season in Game 6 against Atlanta.

Oh yes. Atlanta. The Hawks series still had Philly on edge this week as the stench of three home losses and a second-round exit as the No. 1 seed floated into this season.

The Raptors moved closer to 11 in the third but Harden — the bold trade deadline acquisition made for those moments — buried a 3 and a layup.

Harden then threw a two-handed rebound pass from midfield which Maxey caught in stride for a high-flying reverse layup. The Sixers trailed by 18, Toronto called a time out and the Philadelphia crowd went wild.

The Sixers outshot the Raptors 29-10 on quick runs.

“He runs. You have to reward him,” Harden said of his top spin pass. “He was running so fast and we had the opportunity to capitalize on the transition.”

The Raptors didn’t seriously challenge until the end of the first half. Embiid was hit with a flagrant after hitting Barnes on a drive. Barnes made 1 of 2 free throws and the Raptors scored his miss to shoot at 48-42.

Embiid, however, made the Raptors pay moments later. He sneered over a bucket and forced VanVleet (who fouled in the fourth) to his third foul. Embiid converted the three-point play for a 57-42 lead.

Maxey took it from there.

“He’s been doing this all season,” Embiid said. “It’s just one game. We have to do it three more times.

Barnes grabbed his left foot and was apparently in pain after Embiid stepped on his foot in the fourth. He needed help with the locker room. Barnes, a top rookie of the year contender, has averaged 15.3 points in 74 games. … F Left Thaddeus Young with sprained left thumb. Coach Nick Nurse said x-rays of both players were negative.

Nurse, who led the Raptors to the 2019 NBA championship, thought five fouls against Embiid wasn’t enough.

“I don’t care if you’re 5-foot-11 and 160 pounds, if you beat him on the spot and he crushes you, that’s a foul,” Nurse said. “I thought he threw three or four elbows to the face. He got called for one. We’ll stay in there.

Raptors: Only had two offensive rebounds in the first half. … Chris Boucher also committed a fault.

76ers: Rapper Meek Mill and boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. sat on the court. … Had no turnovers in the first half. Turned the ball over on the first possession of the second half. and only made three in total. … Matisse Thybulle scored three points in 19 minutes. He will not be available for Games 3 and 4 in Toronto as he is not fully vaccinated.

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