Fred VanVleet, O.G. Anunoby, and the Toronto Raptors looked like a team that could very easily jump to 4-2 on the regular season ahead of a home date against the Philadelphia 76ers. Joel Embiid was not going to be in service due to injury management. Surely Tyrese Maxey wouldn’t have the game of his life, right?
Well, Maxey finished the first half with 27 points on a perfect 10-10 from the field and 7-7 from 3-point range. He ended the evening with 44 points. While Siakam and Scottie Barnes had effective nights scoring the ball, the rest of the roster turned in a first half performance that was so bad they should have to forfeit 1/82nd of their pay.
Only four of the 11 players who appeared in the first half for Toronto scored a point, with the entire bench getting shut out. Still, the Raptors did manage to make some defensive stands in the third quarter and make it a competitive game. Philly pulled away in the fourth and won 112-90.
This game was so gnarly that only two or three Raptors can walk away saying that they played exceptionally well. This was the worst game of the season by a mile, and performing like this against a Sixers team that didn’t have Embiid is an absolutely brutal showing.
O.G. Anunoby helped the Toronto Raptors on both ends.
The amazing Pascal Siakam may have had better box score numbers, but that’s becoming such a regularity for No. 43 that teams are starting to expect him as a triple-double threat every game. Anunoby had been struggling big-time offensively before this game, but he quickly turned things around in this contest.
Anunoby finished with 19 points and nine rebounds while playing some of the more impressive on-ball defense you’ll see from anyone in the Eastern Conference. This is exactly who the Raptors thought they would be getting in Anunoby at the beginning of this year, as his game continues to evolve.
Anunoby appears ready to come out of his shell for Toronto, which will be much needed if the bench continues to lay eggs like this. After looking too timid in prior victories, Anunoby getting on track is a small silver lining Toronto can hold onto.
Fred VanVleet was putrid to watch for the Toronto Raptors.
While Maxey was having the time of his life picking Toronto apart, VanVleet was in the middle of one of the worst games he’s had in years. By the time he scored his first (and only) point, which came late in the third quarter, VanVleet had gone 0-9 from the field and missed all six of his 3-point attempt. He couldn’t buy a bucket.
Defensively, he played a huge part in Toronto’s complete breakdown in the backcourt. James Harden was getting his shots easily whenever he needed them, Maxey was on fire all night long, and De’Anthony Melton was absolutely tormenting the Raptors on both ends all night long.
VanVleet having a John Starks in Game 7 night against Philly is obviously not going to be the new norm for what we should expect, but that doesn’t make this game any less difficult to watch. Toronto will need to get their star guard back into top shape before the Hawks come into Scotiabank Arena.