The #5 Toronto Raptors trail the #4 Philadelphia 76ers 0-1 in their opening-round playoff series, and got a batch of bad news heading into Game 2 with small forward Scottie Barnes out with an ankle injury, and shooting guard Gary Trent, Jr. doubtful with a non-COVID illness.
In addition, Raptors backup power forward Thaddeus Young has a thumb injury and is also listed as doubtful for Game 2 against the 76ers in Philadelphia on Monday evening.
“Scottie’s out,” said Raptors head coach Nick Nurse. “Gary is not here for shootaround, he’s still doubtful. Thad has some damage there in his thumb. They are going to try to tape him up here today and see what it looks like here [during] shootaround, but I would imagine he’s doubtful, too.”
The 76ers blew out the Raptors with a 20-point victory in Game 1. The Raptors enter Game 2 as a +7.5 underdog.
The 76ers are -475 odds to win the series, according to a recent update by DraftKings. The Raptors are +340 odds to come from behind and knock out the 76ers.
Maxey: 38 in Game 1
Tyrese Maxey took control of Game 1 with a game-high 38 points for the 76ers. He shot 11-for-21 from the field and knocked down five 3-pointers.
“The only thing I’m going to remember is us winning,” said a humble Maxey.
Tobias Harris added 26 points on 9-for-14 from the floor. Starters like Maxey and Harris need to have big games in the postseason when the opposing defenses key in on Joel Embiid and James Harden. Harden has been a huge supporter of Maxey since his arrival and encouraged the young guard to be aggressive.
“I saw growth, man,” said Harden. “I saw him from being up-and-down and not really having consistent minutes last year in the postseason to starting and having a huge role on a championship-contending team.”
“Tyrese just doesn’t play with anxiety,” added head coach Doc Rivers. “There’s not a lot that ruffles him.”
In his first playoff game with the 76ers, Harden scored 22 points and dished 14 assists. Embiid scored 19 points and pulled down 15 rebounds in the win.
“It’s only one game,” said Embiid. “We need to do it three more times.”
Raptors outgunned, no love from zebras
The Raptors were a popular sleeper pick to upset the 76ers in the opening round, but they just couldn’t get anything going right in Game 1 in Philly. As a team, the Raptors shot 40% from 3-point range, but that was meaningless compared to the red-hot 76ers. The squad from Philly knocked down 50% of their treys on 16-for-32 from downtown. The 3-pointers whipped the crowd into a frenzy, which the 76ers — and especially Maxey — fed off of.
“Collectively as a team, we just didn’t match the intensity,” said Pascal Siakam.
Siakam led the Raptors with 24 points in the loss on an efficient 9-for-18 from the field. Fred VanVleet had a quiet night with just 18 points. He shot well from the floor with a 7-for-12 clip, including 4-for-7 from 3-point range, but the 76ers did a good job limiting the sniper to just 12 attempted shots.
Barnes suffered a sprained ankle when Embiid accidentally stepped on his foot in the fourth quarter. He was done for the night at that point and needed assistance getting to the locker room. The rookie still put up impressive stats with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists in 32 minutes of action. The Raptors will miss Barnes for Game 2 and hope he can return from his ankle injury when the series shifts to Toronto later this week.
The flu-ridden Trent shot 2-for-11 from the field, including 3-for-7 from downtown for just nine points.
Raptors coach Nick Nurse believes the officials were generous toward the hometown team, especially with an over-exuberant Embiid. “I don’t care if you’re 5-foot-11 and 160 pounds, if you beat him to the spot and he runs you over, it’s a foul,” said Nurse. “I thought he threw three or four elbows to the face. He got called for one. We’re going to stand in there.”
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