Sixers vs Raptors Game 1 Observations
The Sixers took Game 1 of their best-of-seven series with the Toronto Raptors on Saturday, putting them in a much strong position to win the series per ESPN Stats & Information.
The winner of Game 1 in best-of-7 series goes on to win the series 76% of the time.
So let's take a look at my Game 1 observations on the Sixers:
1. The Sixers won despite no needing a huge offensive game from Joel Embiid, who scored 19 points. However, the Sixers put him in good spots, allowing others to move without the ball for easy baskets. Embiid finished with four assists.
For the game, Embiid totaled 19 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and a block.
"I mean it starts really with me," Embiid acknowledged. "Not getting frustrated, kind of invited the double teams and triple teams that they kept sending at me all night, you know just trying to make the right play, whatever is going to get us the win, you know I’ve said it, having played against them for so long, especially the same coach, I kind of know how they want to play, especially defensively so it was just all about me making the right plays over and over and over and I thought tonight was pretty good. That was probably the first time that I ever went with zero turnovers against Toronto which I’ve got to do that a lot more. "
2. James Harden was a factor in the offensive efficiency, by lulling weak side defenders to sleep - Tobias Harris, Danny Green, Tobias Maxey and Georges Niang getting good looks. Harden also was able to get a lot of deep penetration, forcing switches, which allowed for open looks and the Sixers hit their shots, going 16-32 from three-point range.
Harden finished with a stat-sheet filling 22 points, 14 assists, five rebounds, a steal and a block.
"Just trying to make the right plays man," Harden explained. "It’s about doing the little things and making the right plays and you’ve got a guy like Tyrese [Maxey] who got going, you gotta make sure he gets shots and try being aggressive and he was helping, he was knocking down shots and for him getting to the paint but I think it was a great game individually for guys and for the team. Things that we talked about this past week, rebounding the basketball, not turning the basketball over giving them opportunities and I think we did a good job of that tonight."
3. Sixers did very good job of going after Fred VanVleet on the defensive side, using Embiid as screener. The Raptors dropped coverage, allowing Harden to use his vision.
4. Tobias Harris was aggressive and made quick decisive decisions with the ball and was able to finish around the rim, which isn't always the case. He made the extra pass on occasion and even was a factor on the defensive side of the court.
Harris ended the game with 26 points, six rebounds, six assists, a steal and a block.
5. The Raptors had no answer for Tyresse Maxey, who took advantage of a lot of one-on-one coverage and the extra attention spent on Embiid and Harden. If he plays like this, the Raptors could be sent packing early.
Maxey scored 38 points, hitting five three-point shots, adding four rebounds and two assists as the 76ers blew past the Raptors 131-111 on Saturday.
"He was great," acknowledged Sixers head coach Doc Rivers. "I mean we worked on that little action for four days and his speed is a factor, we know that, we have to keep using it, putting him in space, some nights maybe him driving and passing, tonight it was him driving and getting to the basket and making shots."
"Honestly I just went out there and tried my best for my team," said Maxey. "I mean that’s really all I do every single night and being aggressive, they told me I needed to be aggressive in this series and I tried to start out fast for us."
Game 2 is set for Monday night at 7:30. You can listen to the game on 97.3 ESPN, South Jersey Sixers Station.