Raptors have no answer for Maxey, suffer first blowout loss of season

Tyrese Maxey finished with career-highs of 44 points and nine three pointers.

We’re already seeing how tough it is to win both legs of these new two game sets.

Miami learned that earlier this week against the Raptors after Toronto lost the Caleb Martin-Christian Koloko melee induced first battle. On Wednesday, the Raps played probably their most complete game so far with a season best 119 points. Philly laboured on defence, especially in transition where they gave up 29 alone.

Friday saw a flip in defensive effort between the teams.

Obviously the biggest issue was defending Tyrese Maxey, which is becoming a long term problem for the Raptors. He averaged 21 points against Toronto in the playoffs on 51/40/95 shooting splits. Even in the first matchup, Maxey had 31 points and six assists. With Joel Embiid announced out before the game and James Harden being generally quiet, Maxey took it upon itself to take over early and often.

The first takeaway is how open some of these looks were, whether it was a defender being a step slow or too many miscommunications on the perimeter to give Maxey clean looks.

“We didn’t have much effort or energy on anything, we just weren’t crisp on either end,” Nick Nurse said after the game.

The lack of defence affected the offence, as Toronto relies on scoring in transition after getting stops. The Raptors scored zero fastbreak points in the first half. Toronto also entered this game with the fewest turnovers per game in the NBA (11). They committed 10 in the first half alone (compared to zero on Wednesday), leading to 18 Philly points. Pascal Siakam and O.G. Anunoby largely kept the game in reach. Anunoby’s individual defence was excellent, as he made known before the game that he wants to be recognized as a great defender by making First Team All-Defence.

Toronto had its best defensive stretch in the third quarter, chaining together multiple stops to cut a 19 point deficit to six after an Anunoby trap on James Harden led to a dunk. The Raptors forced six turnovers in the third, leading to nine fastbreak points. In other words, the usual gameplan.

Doc Rivers stymied things a bit after that, mixing in zone when Precious Achiuwa, Chris Boucher and Dalano Banton checked in. Precious and Dalano combined to shoot 0-5 from three and the Raptors as a whole went 9-39. The 24 percent shooting in the preseason scared some people but overall that has been a positive until last night.

The 76ers regained momentum for good after back to back turnovers by Fred VanVleet and Siakam at the seven minute mark in the fourth. An ensuing De’Anthony Melton layup put Philly up 12. Then after being hounded a bit in the second half, Maxey started getting open again.

Maxey set new career highs with 44 points and nine threes.

Fred’s Off Game

Fred has been solid in a more off ball, playmaking type of role this season but this was his worst showing so far. He finished with 1 point on 0-11 shooting, missing all eight of his three point attempts. VanVleet went to the locker room for the last three minutes of the first half and was simply off on both sides of the court.

“I asked him (Fred) several times in the game physically if he was alright and he said that he was every time. But he was certainly out of sorts, there was no doubt about it,” Nurse said.

What’s Next?

Toronto hosts Atlanta on Monday, facing another guard they have had problems defending in Trae Young.

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