Saturday, December 3, 2022
HomeSportsMaxey electrifying as Raptors drop second of two games vs. 76ers

Maxey electrifying as Raptors drop second of two games vs. 76ers


The new schedule wrinkle the NBA has introduced this season, where teams will stay in one city and play two games against the same team over a few days, playoff style, has been met with mixed reactions.

On one hand? For the visitors it means not having to rush to the airport immediately after a game, arriving in the middle of the night in another city, and for all involved, not having to drill down on a scouting report for a new opponent hours after having finished with the last one.

On the other, sometimes it’s easier to move on to a new opponent and start fresh: there’s a reason winning games against the same opponent in the playoffs is hard.

And there’s some human nature at play too: No one wants to get beat by the same team twice in a row.

Get your butt kicked in the first game of the set? Getting up for the second game shouldn’t be too hard. That’s how things played out for the Raptors last week in Miami, when they shook off a sluggish performance in the first meeting but game back two nights later and played with an edge from start to finish.

.acf-block-preview .br-snippet {
display: grid;
grid-template-columns: 200px 1fr;
gap: 20px;
width: 100%;
margin: 0 auto;
padding: 16px;
border: 1px solid #CECECE;
background-color: #FFF;
border-radius: 4px;
}
.acf-block-preview .br-snippet-info a {
text-decoration: none;
}
.acf-block-preview .br-snippet-info .br-snippet-title {
color: #343434;
font-family: ‘roboto’;
font-size: 20px;
font-weight: 600;
line-height: 22px;
margin-bottom: 10px;
top: -3px;
}
.acf-block-preview .br-snippet-info .br-snippet-body {
color: #343434;
font-family: ‘urw-din’;
font-size: 16px;
line-height: 20px;
margin-bottom: 12px;
}
.acf-block-preview .br-snippet-info .br-snippet-link-title {
display: inline-block;
font-family: ‘urw-din’;
font-size: 16px;
list-style-type: none;
width: auto;
}
.acf-block-preview .br-snippet-info .br-snippet-link-title:not(:last-child):after {
content: ‘ | ‘;
color: #343434;
}

This time the Raptors challenge was different. Two nights after playing one of their most complete games of the season in a win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, the Raptors were the ones who needed to fight off some complacency or over-confidence.

The ‘we got this’ vibe might have got an extra boost when it was announced just before the tip that Sixers all-NBA centre Joel Embiid would be sitting out with knee soreness.

How much would that affect a game plan?

“A lot,” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said.

But perhaps the Raptors’ biggest issue was their own struggle to find that extra gear against a desperate opponent.

Or maybe it was just that the Sixers Tyrese Maxey chose Friday night to have one of the most electric offensive performances by a visiting player at Scotiabank Arena in sometime.

Most likely? The two factors were inextricably intertwined as the Raptors dropped a 112-90 decision to Sixers and never found an answer for Maxey who popped off for a career-high 44  points while shooting 9-of-12 from three and 15-of-20 overall.  He had 27 in the first half on perfect 10-of-10 shooting, while knocking down his first seven three-point attempts. Then in the fourth quarter, as the Raptors were trying to reel the Sixers back in, Maxey scored 10 points in a minute to push what was a 10-point Sixers lead to 20 with 4:20 left remaining, rendering the Raptors push meaningless.

The win – accomplished with Embiid sitting out with knee soreness – was much-needed by the Sixers, who improved to 2-4 on the year, while the Raptors fell to 3-3.

The Raptors got another strong game from Pascal Siakam, who finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, though he did contribute five of the Raptors season-high 17 turnovers, while O.G. Anunoby had 19 points, nine rebounds and two steals. It was a very tough night for Raptors guard Fred VanVleet who finished 0-of-11 from the floor and 0-of-8 from deep.

The Sixers shot 52.4 per cent from the floor – this after shooting 50.4 per cent on Wednesday – and were 16-of-38 from deep. Toronto shot 38.8 per cent from the floor and were just 9-of-39 from beyond the arc. And while the Raptors enjoyed a massive edge in fastbreak scoring in the first of the two games, it was just a 16-15 edge Friday night as the Sixers played a more responsible game in general.

The Raptors flat performance was in some ways predictable, but in no way acceptable.

“I just think it’s human nature,” said Nurse about the tendency of teams to let down their guard after a win. “… There will be adjustments. There will be one team more determined, maybe. That’s the way it goes in the playoffs. That’s the way it feels right now.”

It didn’t take long for the Raptors to pay the price for coming out of the blocks a little lackadaisically. Maxey, who is a handful to attempt to contain even when everyone is locked in and moving on a string as the Raptors know all too well from their April playoff series, was flying by Raptors defenders like water around rocks in a fast-moving stream.

.acf-block-preview .br-snippet {
display: grid;
grid-template-columns: 200px 1fr;
gap: 20px;
width: 100%;
margin: 0 auto;
padding: 16px;
border: 1px solid #CECECE;
background-color: #FFF;
border-radius: 4px;
}
.acf-block-preview .br-snippet-info a {
text-decoration: none;
}
.acf-block-preview .br-snippet-info .br-snippet-title {
color: #343434;
font-family: ‘roboto’;
font-size: 20px;
font-weight: 600;
line-height: 22px;
margin-bottom: 10px;
top: -3px;
}
.acf-block-preview .br-snippet-info .br-snippet-body {
color: #343434;
font-family: ‘urw-din’;
font-size: 16px;
line-height: 20px;
margin-bottom: 12px;
}
.acf-block-preview .br-snippet-info .br-snippet-link-title {
display: inline-block;
font-family: ‘urw-din’;
font-size: 16px;
list-style-type: none;
width: auto;
}
.acf-block-preview .br-snippet-info .br-snippet-link-title:not(:last-child):after {
content: ‘ | ‘;
color: #343434;
}

Just the threat of his speed bought him all the space he could ever need as he knocked down four quick triples, the defense on each of them not as airtight as the third-year Sixers guard has shown he deserves. He then started weaving through traffic on his way to the rim – his specialty – and the Raptors could only watch those plays too.

By the time the first quarter was over Maxey had 14 points on and was 5-of-5 from the floor, powering the Sixers to a 28-26 lead even as Siakam was doing his part to keep pace with 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting.

By that time locking up Maxey should have been No.1 on the Raptors to-do list, but the lightning-quick guard was just getting started. He hit his first two threes to start the second quarter, drove the lane for another score and assisted on a triple by Georges Niang to put Philadelphia up 10. By the time Maxey hit his final three of the half – and his seventh straight from deep – the Sixers were up 19 on their way to a wholly deserved 65-48 first half lead as they shot 57 per cent from the floor and went 12-of-23 from deep while feasting on 10 Toronto turnovers.

The Raptors have a formula they believe will key any success they hope to have and through their first five games of the season, they’ve mostly been true to it: “it’s not like we didn’t know we were gonna have to play really hard on defence and guard really hard to be good, to be a competitive team,” said Nurse before the game. “We’ve done that for the most part.”

The outlines of it finally began to show in the second half. They forced the Sixers into eight empty trips to start the third quarter, eventually cutting Philadelphia’s lead to six when Anunoby picked James Harden’s pocket at centre court and went the other way for a dunk, one of six turnovers the Raptors were able to force, but heading into the final frame Toronto was trailing 81-70 and had a lot of work still to do.

In the end they weren’t up to it. Maxey came to play, and the Raptors didn’t, or at least not to their accustomed level, and they paid for it.

.acf-block-preview .br-related-links-wrapper {
display: grid;
grid-template-columns: repeat(2, 1fr);
gap: 20px;
}

.acf-block-preview .br-related-links-wrapper a {
pointer-events: none;
cursor: default;
text-decoration: none;
color: black;
}

RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments

Stay Connected With Us !

Sign Up today and stay connected with Techmindx for more.