The Philadelphia 76ers have drawn first blood against the Toronto Raptors. Game 1 of the first-round series between the Atlantic Division foes took place on Saturday evening, and in the most emphatic performance that we have seen on the first day of the 2022 NBA playoffs, the Sixers were able to defend their home court with a 131-111 win.
The story of the night was the play of second-year guard Tyrese Maxey. After appearing in 12 playoff games for Philadelphia last year and coming off the bench in all of them, Maxey got the start in the backcourt alongside James Harden on Saturday and submitted one of the best performances of his career. The No. 21 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft scored a playoff career-high 38 points on 14-for-21 shooting in 38 minutes of work — Maxey missed his career-best mark by one point.
Beyond the fact that he made five of his eight attempts from three, Toronto’s defense struggled mightily to stay in front of him, as his lightning quick ability off the bounce gave the Raptors headaches. That was especially true in the game’s third quarter, when Maxey exploded for 21 points.
The Sixers’ three most highly-paid players all chipped in with very good evenings, as Tobias Harris had 26 points with six assists and six rebounds, while both James Harden (22 points, 14 assists) and Joel Embiid (19 points, 15 rebounds) put up double-double performances. But the man of the evening was Maxey, who is in the midst of establishing himself as one of the brightest young guards in all of basketball.
Game 2 between the Sixers and Raptors will take place on Monday night at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT.