2. Scottie Barnes defends Tyrese Maxey better than Fred VanVleet
While VanVleet is far from being a Ewing Theory candidate at this juncture, the Raptors did have much better results when it came to keeping Harden and Maxey in check when Barnes started at point guard. That length and strength is a genuine issue for Philadelphia’s guards.
On top of the fact Maxey scored just 12 points in 39 minutes in Game 4, Maxey followed up that show with 12 points on 5-14 shooting. Harden has been outscored by OG Anunoby in this series, which speaks to the quality of Philly’s defensive gameplans so far in this series.
Scottie Barnes is helping the Toronto Raptors defend well.
VanVleet should get some All-Defensive consideration this season, but the 76ers just are not a good matchup for him given their speed. Clearly hampered by the attrition brought on by a long NBA season and his hip injury, VanVleet is just not his usual self in this series.
When VanVleet returns, the Raptors may need to figure out some way to make sure that Barnes can run point and defend Maxey. This will be somewhat challenging for Nick Nurse, but he’s made crazier adjustments when the need has arisen. Scottie at point has been too successful to just scrap.