Maxey, 76ers outpace Raptors to claim early-series advantage

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Tyrese Maxey led all scorers with 38 points as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Toronto Raptors 131-111 on Saturday to snatch a 1-0 advantage in the best-of-seven series.

Maxey’s 38 points are a playoff career high, eclipsing his 16-point performance against the Atlanta Hawks in Game 6 of the 2021 Eastern Conference Semifinals. He scored 21 of his 38 points in the third quarter alone.

“It was pretty spectacular, really,” teammate Tobias Harris said of Maxey’s attacking outburst, courtesy of Lauren Rosen of Sixers.com. “That third quarter, the shots he was making…everything was falling into place. Hats off to him, because he played a hell of a game tonight.”

Harris added 26 points, six rebounds and six assists for the 76ers, while star guard James Harden recorded 22 points and 14 cents. MVP candidate and center Joel Embiid had 19 points, 15 rebounds and four assists.

Pascal Siakam scored a team-high 24 points for Toronto on 9-of-18 shooting to go with seven assists, three rebounds and three blocks in 40 minutes.

“I’m not surprised they’re very motivated and ready to go,” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said of Philadelphia, according to TSN’s Josh Lewenberg. The Sixers never trailed after taking a 7-5 first quarter lead. “I think there are a lot of expectations of them.

“They were going to try to intimidate us from the ground and kick us to see if we were going to leave. Now we are going to find out whether we will or not.”

However, how the Raptors react after dropping Game 1 of the series on the road may not be their biggest concern post-loss. Star rookie Scottie Barnes suffered a sprained ankle and was gone for good with 9:06 remaining in the game after Embiid inadvertently stepped on the forward’s foot. X-rays came back negative, but Barnes is expected to undergo further imaging and his status for Monday’s Game 2 is still unknown.

Toronto also lost forward Thaddeus Young, who left the game with 6:27 left in the second quarter with a sprained thumb.

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