The Philadelphia 76ers finished off their homestand on Thursday with a matchup against the Toronto Raptors. The Sixers once again found themselves in a nail-biter down the stretch and, unfortunately, fell short. The Raptors walked away with a 115-109 victory, extending the Sixers' losing streak to three games.
Here are some observations from the Sixers' latest defeat.
3. Tobias Harris was impressive in return
Reinforcements are slowly coming in for the Sixers after a week of playing extremely shorthanded. Prior to Thursday's tip-off, Harris was cleared from health and safety protocols. For someone who just missed six games, Harris had a very positive return to action.
In just over 36 minutes, he tallied 19 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists. He might not have shot the ball as efficiently as we're accustomed to seeing, but that was to be expected for someone who has missed significant time.
From the Sixers' perspective, they should view Harris' return as a near-perfect success. He was able to log big minutes, got up and down the floor well, and managed to fill up the box score. While some players have struggled after returning from a long layoff, that was not the case for the Sixers star forward.
2. Tyrese Maxey is legit
Maxey was the star for the Sixers in their last matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks and was arguably the biggest standout again against the Raptors. The second-year guard continues to amaze with his expanded role this season.
Maxey led the Sixers in scoring for the second straight game, ending the night with a season-high 33 points. The 21-year-old also racked up four rebounds, five assists, one steal, and two blocks to go along with his scoring barrage.
What stood out most from this performance was his ability to get to the free throw line. Maxey is not one to always get a whistle, but he relentlessly got downhill against the Raptors and managed to get to the line a team-high eight times.
Heading into the year, many questioned if Maxey was able to take the leap the Sixers needed. Based on his recent stretch, the young guard looks ready to take on any challenge put in front of him.
1. Falling short yet again
For the most part, the Sixers have done a tremendous job staying competitive despite unfortunate circumstances. That said, down the stretch of games is when their depleted roster has been a glaring weakness.
The Sixers deserve a lot of credit for their resiliency, they fought hard until the final buzzer in their past three matchups. Even with their valiant efforts, they have not been able to stave off fatigue.
Having to log big minutes over multiple games is starting to take its toll on the Sixers. Guys have looked gassed, and it has affected their play. The Raptors are a physical team that will not be outhustled. They are near impossible to beat if you cannot match their energy.
As the Sixers work their way back to full health, this will be a non-issue. The question is how long the team can hold on before the added wear and tear has a larger impact on the roster.