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Holy s@!#, Tyrese! Career-high 44 from Maxey lifts Embiid-less Sixers over Raptors

Tyrese Maxey was absolutely electric in guiding the Joel Embiid-less Sixers to a victory over the Raptors in Toronto Friday.

Philadelphia 76ers v Toronto Raptors

The Sixers held the Raptors to 16 fast-break points. You would’ve thought that’d be the biggest talking point from their 112-90 win at Scotiabank Arena Friday.

But instead, Tyrese Maxey went nuts, going for a career-high 44 points and leading his team to victory.

The Sixers were without Joel Embiid (right knee soreness (injury management)) on the first half of their pending back-to-back. Doc Rivers opted to go small playing P.J. Tucker at the five and putting De’Anthony Melton in the starting lineup. Melton rewarded Rivers in a big way with a stuffed stat sheet.

The Sixers take on the Bulls tomorrow night in Chicago.

Here are a few takeaways from a bonkers night for Maxey.

First Quarter

  • A pair of corner threes for Tyrese Maxey to start, both coming on very different possessions. The first one Maxey just heaved a shot from the corner as the shot clock was winding down. The second one came on decent ball movement where Tobias Harris drove and kicked it out to Maxey. The corner has really become Maxey’s office.
  • The small-ball lineup is holding up OK defensively to start. Pascal Siakam is still a problem, either finding his own shot or showing off his improved court vision.
  • Maxey, again.
  • Matisse Thybulle checks in. Suppose he’s filling De’Anthony Melton’s spot. Melton has been much more impactful over the last couple games after a slow start to the season.
  • Sixers’ offense looks stagnant again. They haven’t scored in a bit here. The spacing is really off and the Raptors are having an easy time closing things off.
  • Woof. Thybulle hesitates and passes up a wide-open three. It ultimately leads to a shot-clock violation. It feels like James Harden is dribbling the air out of the ball. Thybulle had a three blocked a couple possessions later.
  • More offensive rebounds for the Raptors. Things kind of coming unraveled here.
  • And more Montrezl Harrell here for some reason.
  • Now a pair of threes for Thybulle. Good for him for continuing to fire away. And the Sixers desperately needed the offense.
  • The Sixers got off to a great start to the quarter, but Toronto started to take the game over about midway through the period. The Thybulle threes and a late drive and score by Maxey helped the Sixers maintain the lead. Going into the second it’s 28-26. Maxey with 14 points thanks to a 5-for-5 start.

Second Quarter

  • If Tyrese Maxey makes all his threes the Sixers have a shot in this one. He’s 4 for 4 now.
  • 5 FOR 5! I expect the nets in Toronto to be aflame a la NBA Jam. Sheesh. Follows it up with a smooth drive and finish. Maxey looks electric tonight.
  • He’s now up to 24 points and Nick Nurse is forced to call a timeout with the Sixers extending the lead to 43-31. Ridiculous start for Maxey. As a team, the Sixers shooting 10 of 17 for three.
  • Mixed results with the Sixers’ zone early. Toronto is an excellent three-point shooting team, but I understand the decision by Doc Rivers with Thybulle, who is outstanding in zone, and four less dynamic defenders. The Raptors already up to seven turnovers after only having nine Wednesday.
  • Great put back by Melton on a bad offensive possession. Love Melton’s game. He just does a little bit of everything.
  • Another terrific play by Maxey. Great drive and kick to P.J. Tucker for a corner three. Maxey has four assists in addition to his scoring. One of the better halves of his career, quite frankly.
  • 6 FOR 6! He’s got 27 points in the first half.
  • Harden is starting to find holes in the Toronto defense and it’s leading to great looks for the Sixers. He’s abusing Malachi Flynn.
  • The Raptors got a couple easy baskets to close the half, but really didn’t make any inroads. THEY ALSO HAD ZERO FAST-BREAK POINTS. Maxey carried the Sixers with 27 first-half points. Nobody else was even in double figures. Truly dominant stuff as the Sixers take a 65-48 lead into the locker room. The shooting will even out (56.8 percent to 44.4 percent) so expect a Toronto run.

Third Quarter

  • First possession of the second half and Tucker goes down after a roll to the basket where he appeared to step on Siakam’s foot. Tucker stayed in the game.
  • Great transition defense by ... James Harden! He broke up a 2-on-1 and the Sixers still pitching a shutout in that regard.
  • A couple really rough possessions from Tobias Harris, one leading to an airball from in tight and the other leading to a turnover. Harris has been so good making quick decisions this season. This is not the team to be hesitant and ball stop against.
  • Timely bucket from Harden as the Raptors were chipping away. Drives and gets the and-one on a leaner in the paint. Sixers still up double digits, 68-54, but the offense is leaking oil a bit — and Maxey has missed two shots.
  • The Sixers just flubbed a 3-on-1 fast break. Harris is having rough night. Brutal turnover by Harden who somehow didn’t see a double team coming. It’s suddenly a six-point game, 70-64, and the Raptors have nine fast-break points.
  • Toronto has taken 22 free throws. The Sixers have only taken four. Part of that is the way the Sixers are playing, jacking up a bunch of threes, but the disparity seems a bit much.
  • Quite the lineup for Doc to close the third: Maxey-Thybulle-Shake Milton-Georges Niang-Montrezl Harrell. Well, give the head coach some credit because it worked out. The Sixers closed the quarter on an 8-3 run to extend their lead back to double digits. A Harrell floater with time expiring gave them an 81-70 advantage. Thybulle has been quietly solid tonight.

Fourth Quarter

  • Holy shit, Tyrese Maxey. He’s dusted off the old floater tonight and he’s now up to 33.
  • Ummm Montrezl Harrell Euro-step? Sure. Gets an and-one basket and the lead is extended to 88-72. This lineup is playing zone defense and moving the ball on offense.
  • Man, Thybulle and Melton are playing their asses off. Thybulle has two blocks and a steal and has created havoc out of the zone. Melton is stuffing the stat sheet: 11 points, five assists, four rebounds, and five steals. Both teams getting sloppy, which feels like it plays into Toronto’s hands.
  • Holy shit, Tyrese Maxey. The young man is feeling very good. Had a blur of a drive then followed it up with two audacious threes. That’s a new career-high 42 points for Maxey. A sensational performance and the Sixers are up 99-81 with under five minutes left.
  • Maxey checks out with 44 points. He was absolutely electric and made this one a laugher by the end. Melton with a ridiculous stat line: 13 points, six assists, five rebounds, five assists, and five steals. A much-needed win for the Sixers, who will hopefully have Embiid in the lineup in Chicago Saturday.

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