End of series for Toronto, which sinks Philadelphia | NBA
For the return of Tobias Harris with the Sixers, Fred VanVleet (32 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists) had decided to play the spoilsport. Imperial from start to finish, the leader of the Raptors guided his team to precious success, after a disjointed meeting which was decided in the last minute (115-109).
Perfectly supported by OG Anunoby (20 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) and Gary Trent Jr. (20 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists), just as decisive as him in the “money-time”, on both sides of the floor, “FVV” was clearly the strong man for Toronto, who returned to victory after losing three in a row.
For the Philadelphia players, who are preparing to embark on a perilous six-game road-trip on the West Coast, the crazy atmosphere of the Wells Fargo Center could not prevent them from suffering another setback, the third of following. Despite, also, the umpteenth superb performance of young Tyrese Maxey (33 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists).
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– Fred VanVleet as boss. Quickly in legs, with his 15 points and 3 assists in the first quarter, “FVV” made his defenders dizzy throughout the evening, finishing with 32 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists at 11/22 on shots and 6/11 at 3 points. A master at playing the Raptors, the point guard confirmed her current good form by first carrying her team on her shoulders, then waking them up as soon as they were in the hard, in the first half or in the last act. The icing on the cake, the 2019 champion ensured in the “money-time”, registering a 3-point assassin in the corner, 25 seconds from the end (113-109).
– Philadelphia impales itself on the Toronto zone. Firmly installed in the lead (68-59) in the middle of the third quarter, the Sixers then thwarted, when Nick Nurse released his zone defense. With elements like OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Precious Achiuwa or Chris Boucher, the Raptors made their opponents live a real nightmare, who broke their teeth in this area 2-3, thus conceding a “run” of… 19 -5! Before resuming a small burst (9-2) at the start of the last quarter, then finally adapting a minimum to the Canadian defense, which clearly turned the tide of the game.
– The return of Tobias Harris. Absent for six matches, due to Covid-19, the Sixers winger has finally found his teammates, still deprived of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Matisse Thybulle. With his 19 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists, the 29-year-old signed an interesting performance, despite the rather logical waste after two weeks of absence (7/18 on shots, 1/6 at 3-points and 4 losses ball). In any case, he started strong in the first half, being particularly involved in the first 10 points of his team, before losing influence over the minutes.
TOPS / FLOPS
?? Tyrese Maxey. Already brilliant against the Bucks (31 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists), the “combo-guard” of the Sixers put it back against the Raptors (33 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists). Always used as much by Doc Rivers (41 minutes on average for five games, another 40 last night), “T-Max” remains very effective and, today, he especially weighed in the last act. At the time when Philadelphia was dropped to the score and needed a spark in attack. Aggressive towards the circle and full of nerve, the 21-year-old therefore took his responsibilities and relaunched his team, before Toronto showered his attempt to “come back” at the end.
?? Chris Boucher. Little in sight since the start of the season (4.8 points and 3.5 rebounds on average), the interior of the Raptors is finally out of its box tonight. Compiling 17 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks, 7/12 on shots, and supporting during the big Canadian streak, straddling the third and fourth quarters. Associated with Scottie Barnes, OG Anunoby or even Precious Achiuwa, the original Saint-Lucian has thus made his mobility, his energy, his physique and his fighting spirit speak for the racket. And it could be that this performance definitely kicks off its 2021/22 fiscal year.
MOM LOWRY IN THE TRIBUNES
Considered by many to be the greatest player in Toronto history, Kyle Lowry was in something at the Wells Fargo Center that night, since his mother is in the audience, to support the Canadian franchise. Originally from Philadelphia, the new Miami menu must have appreciated from Los Angeles the strength of character displayed by his former teammates in Pennsylvania.
Philadelphia (8-5) : travel to Indiana, overnight from Saturday to Sunday (1:00 am).
Toronto (7-6) : Detroit reception, Saturday night to Sunday (1:30 am).