GRADES: Sixers bounce back in second preseason game vs. Raptors

Tyrese Maxey, Sixers Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Tyrese Maxey, Sixers Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

After falling to the Toronto Raptors in their preseason opener on the road, the Sixers evened the preseason series with a solid home win.

Both teams came out firing from 3-point land, including the player most familiar with both squads, Danny Green. A lay-up to open the game paved the way to two long balls as Green scored eight of his 11 in the opening minutes.

Back-to-back Fred VanVleet 3-pointers gave Toronto a 18-16 lead before the Philadelphia defense tightened as an 8-0 run over nearly four minutes propelled them to take a lead they would never relinquish.

Like many preseason games, the pace was feverish. Newcomer Georges Niang opened the quarter canning a deep 3-pointer, a constant theme of his night. Andre Drummond, Furkan Korkmaz, Tyrese Maxey, and Isaiah Joe spread the scoring while OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, and Svi Mykhailiuk helped Toronto keep pace.

After a continued barrage of 3-pointers, Philadelphia entered the halftime locker room leading 71-55.

The second half was more composed.

Joel Embiid got the scoring started and Tobias Harris pitched in a seemingly usual effort. With no player exceeding 25 minutes and all 15 players getting at least five minutes of action, the game began to more resemble an open local gym run with a mixture of lapses on defense and open 3s.

By the final buzzer, Philadelphia secured the win finishing 125-113. As for the breakdown, Philadelphia had eight players in double figures and poured in nearly 50 percent of their triples while holding Toronto under 30 percent.

Grades from the Sixers’ preseason victory over the Toronto Raptors

  • Georges Niang: A

16 mins | 16 pts | 2 reb | 3 ast | 1 stl | 0 blk | 0 TO | 6-11 FG | 4-7 3PT| 0-0 FT | 3 PF | +19 |

Niang appears to be the varsity version of Mike Scott. He knocks down open shots and has some sneaking playmaking in his repertoire. From the backup power forward position, Niang ought to be a sight for sore eyes from fans who had long been reeling for more from the departed Mike Scott.

  • Tyrese Maxey: A-

21 mins | 14 pts | 0 reb | 5 ast | 0 stl | 0 blk | 1 TO | 6-9 FG | 1-1 3PT| 1-1 FT | 4 PF | +22 |

It’s early and bumps in the road should show, but Maxey looked very solid tonight. Against a tenacious Toronto team, Maxey shot efficiently, passed well, and orchestrated the offense with poise. The expectation is that he will be in the starting lineup on opening night.

  • Isaiah Joe: A

22 mins | 15 pts | 2 reb | 1 ast | 2 stl | 1 blk | 0 TO | 5-7 FG | 3-4 3PT| 2-3 FT | 3 PF | +17 |

Joe might not be able to hold up against some of the stouter wings in the Eastern Conference. That shouldn’t matter. The man can shoot with the best of them. Picturesque mechanics are sustained even from deeper trajectories and his spacing should only help Embiid dominate on the block.

  • Andre Drummond: A-

20 mins | 10 pts | 7 reb | 0 ast | 0 stl | 1 blk | 1 TO | 5-6 FG | 0-0 3PT| 0-1 FT | 0 PF | +11 |

Dwight Howard had some strong showings for Philadelphia last year. If preseason is any indication, Philadelphia strongly upgraded their backup center position. Drummond has been confident and huge. He offers some interesting lineups given Embiid’s dominant size and the potentially to bully opponents together. A small wrinkle to watch for.

  • Shake Milton: B-

25 mins | 5 pts | 2 reb | 4 ast | 1 stl | 0 blk | 2 TO | 2-5 FG | 1-2 3PT| 0-0 FT | 1 PF | +2 |

Shake Milton got the start tonight. He’ll be integral to the team’s success on some nights, but he hasn’t looked as sharp as Maxey in the early going. If Milton can serve as a microwave scorer off the bench, then Philadelphia is undoubtedly deep. If he can’t, and Maxey maintains his early showing, then he could serve as a nice piece in case any other player in Philadelphia wants out.

Toronto will get back on the court soon as they head to TD Garden to take on the Boston Celtics on Saturday. Philadelphia will get to enjoy the weekend at home before hosting the Brooklyn Nets on Monday in a game where multiple All-NBA point guards will likely be discussed.

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