Philadelphia quickly unveiled its plan, which was to develop a lot of fast play to prevent the Toronto defense from building up and bet on the creation of James Harden in posed attack, and the ability of Joel Embiid to eat rebounds and go for fouls. The cocktail was explosive, as the Philadelphia snipers fired and the gap widened rapidly.
In an atmosphere of celebration for the return of the playoffs, the locals finished the first quarter at +8 with already 10 points from Tyrese Maxey (35-27). It was then a 9-0 concluded by a 2 + 1 from Joel Embiid that allowed them to take off (57-42). The triples of the Thybulle-Harris tandem placed the Sixers at +18 at the break (69-51).
The Raptors didn’t give up and showed they still had things to do when the pace slowed a bit and Fred VanVleet and company started throwing their shots.
For a few minutes they managed to flirt with the 10 point difference bar. Problem: The Canadians came across a melted Tyrese Maxey. The Philadelphia fullback was careful to respond to every comeback attempt by lining up baskets in the third quarter, during which time he scored 21 points, with a 3-pointer and two shots to hold a 19-minute lead with 12 minutes left (107). . -88)!
The dice were already cast, but luck fell on Toronto, which also lost Scottie Barnes in the last act to finally fall 131-111.
WHAT TO REMEMBER
– The Sixers’ plan worked. It is true that we can highlight the beautiful exterior direction (16/32) and the heat stroke of Tyrese Maxey. But above all, Philly won the tactical battle by developing a game plan that worked, allowing the locals to take the lead early on. The basic premise was the ability of Doc Rivers’ troops to pick up the pace as much as possible, one of the Raptors’ strengths that they ended up outmaneuvering. “Pace is going to be very important for us in this series,” Philly’s coach confirmed during the first half. And his plan worked.
– Without waste. We could almost cite all the numbers, as all the stats swung in Philadelphia’s favor in Game 1. But what was most impressive was the Sixers’ ability to not turn the ball over. Zero at halftime, only one “turnover” after three quarters, the locals finished with 3 turnovers at the end of the game, a record equaled in playoff history that was a hair’s breadth away from falling last night.
– Two Raptors on the canvas. If Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby were finally able to keep their place, Toronto suffered two early exits during the game. Thaddeus Young was first, visibly bruised on the thumb after a scrum on the ground to retrieve a ball. More le possible gros coup dur concerne Scottie Barnes que avait encore ébloui la rencontre par son agressivité de him, mas qui est tombé pour de bon lorsque Joel Embiid a pris appuis sur son pied gauche, lui causant une entorse dont la gravitaté sera connue après l ‘MRI of the day. Even if the first X-ray didn’t reveal any injuries, his departure from the field doesn’t bode well.
✅ Tyrese Maxey. Symbol of these lieutenants who will have a big role in this series to support Joel Embiid, the leader has been a permanent poison for the Raptors who have never been able to stop him. The end of the game could have been a lot different if he hadn’t taken pleasure in responding to every uppercut the Raptors sent in the third quarter to a standing ovation from the crowd. Upon his arrival he signed the best playoff game of his career and launched his team in the best possible way in this 2022 campaign.
✅ The Harden-Embiid tandem. The Harden-Embiid pair played extremely clean in this first match. James Harden had 14 assists, made big baskets and had just one turnover. Ditto for Joel Embiid, who impacted the paint, grabbed rebounds and drew fouls.
⛔ Fred VanVleet. His stat line doesn’t really reflect his hard play. Specifically the first part of it, when Philly made the difference and the period in which the leader/back really struggled, between the fouls (two in the first minute…) and a direction that escaped him. He then corrected the shot but came out with six fouls, on a technical after Scottie Barnes’ injury.
The Sixers will play their second game of the series at home Monday through Tuesday starting at 1:30 a.m.