The 2022 NBA playoffs began Saturday with the fourth-seeded 76ers taking on the fifth-seeded Toronto Raptors. The Sixers made a statement to begin the playoffs, dominating the Raptors, 131-111, to take a 1-0 series lead. Tyrese Maxey took over the game in the third quarter, ultimately dropping 38 points on an unconscious 81.9 percent true shooting. Despite scoring just 19 points, Joel Embiid was a monster on the glass, pulling down 13 rebounds. James Harden dished out 14 assists and added 22 points for good measure, Tobias Harris had 26 of his own. Here are some takeaways from Game 1.
- A big talking point going into this series was how proficient Toronto was at offensive rebounding, something the Sixers have struggled with all year. Philly used their height advantage to flip that in the first quarter, grabbing six offensive boards in the first quarter. Joel Embiid did an excellent job anchoring this, pulling down three himself. Their ability to keep possessions alive was a big reason they were able to get out to a hot start.
- Tyrese Maxey was the other reason for the Sixers’ good start. He was flying around the floor on both ends of the floor from the jump, and had a 10-point first quarter in his first playoff start. The Raptors were able to keep the game close by hitting a lot of tough shots early.
James Harden too shifty.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) April 16, 2022
Tyrese Maxey too deadly.
Good luck. pic.twitter.com/3wSfNhb1ja
- A great job in the non-Embiid minutes by Philly, as he checked back into a 10-point game. Paul Reed had a shaky moment or two, but settled in nicely. James Harden and Tobias Harris did a good job offensively during this stretch, as Harden finally saw the stepback start to fall again. Harris led Philly in scoring at the half, putting up 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting.
- Just a stellar offensive first half for the Sixers. Their ball movement was excellent from the start, zipping the ball around the perimeter, hoisting 19 threes in the half. Incredibly, they had 15 assists and zero turnovers at the half.
- Embiid was excellent to close out the first half, as he took advantage of the fact that no one on Toronto’s roster can physically hang with him. He got to the line nine times in the half, putting both Fred VanVleet and Chris Boucher in significant foul trouble. Both would foul out in the fourth quarter.
DOUBLE TEAM? DON'T MATTER. HE'S THE MVP. pic.twitter.com/573iSKTeRS— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) April 16, 2022
- The third quarter started way too familiarly for Sixers fans. After pushing their lead to 24, it was cut down to 11 in just a couple of minutes, and then it became Tyrese Maxey’s game. Maxey had 21 of his 38 in the third quarter. It was the second highest scoring quarter for a Sixer in the playoffs, per Sixers Stats. This bounce pass from Harden got Maxey and the crowd back into it.
Hell of a pass from James Harden and finish from Tyrese Maxey pic.twitter.com/0WOJVoSQOq— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) April 16, 2022
- Maxey was the best possible version of himself this quarter, he was lethal driving to the basket and from well beyond the arc. It’s been said a million times this season, but the leap he’s taken as a player and a shooter this year is incredible. There has yet to be a moment too big for Tyrese Maxey.
HAHAHAHAHAHA TYRESE MAXEY WHAAAAAAAAAT pic.twitter.com/7veTiEw23v— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) April 17, 2022
- Just a wire-to-wire win for the Sixers, who didn’t allow the Raptors another chance to get back in the game in the fourth quarter. They couldn’t have asked for a better start to the postseason. They can extend the series lead to 2-0 Monday night.