By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers battled the Miami Heat in the final game of their two-game series after a thrilling victory on Tuesday. Philly got some offensive reinforcements with the return of forward Tobias and guards Shake Milton and Matisse Thybulle. All three put their individual stamps on the game. Their return sparked the Sixers to an 125-108 victory over the Heat.
It looked good early in the game for the Sixers. They were able to hit their shots early on and they needed to as the Heat continued to battle them throughout the first quarter. The Sixers once again had a big night from three-point range, hitting 16 three-pointers in total. The return of Harris and Milton provided some more three-point punch for Philly. Harris hit four threes and scored 18-points.
Milton had his I’m back game. He scored 31-points (a season high), and hit three three-pointers. Milton continues making a case to be an early sixth man of the year candidate. His scoring really powered the bench scoring for Philly. The second unit scored 59 of the Sixers 125-points. This powerful effort from Milton and the second unit allowed for the Sixers to survive a nine-point scoring output from center Joel Embiid after scoring 45-points in the previous game.
On his second unit and the depth of this team, “It’s a major good problem. With Covid, and injuries, you’re going to need to be deep. Isaiah adds another guy to that rotation,” said Sixers Head Coach Doc Rivers.
The Heat would not go quietly even with only having eight players available for this game. They still put up a good effort and made it tough on the Sixers. They battled back after being down 20-points to cut it down to a 15-point margin. The Sixers made an adjustment from the last game, by placing Ben Simmons on heat guard Tyler Herro. He must have felt like he was in jail because Simmons and Thybulle shut him down. He only scored 17-points after scoring 38 in the previous game. The combo of Simmons and Thybulle really forced him into some uncharacteristic shots and turnovers. Without his scoring the Heat just could not match the balance scoring output of Philly. Miami will look to get reinforcements as they also have a significant portion of their roster in the league’s covid-19 health protocols.
On Thybulle’s performance, “Matisse was phenomenal. That’s the Matisse we need every night. I really like how he played with his energy,” said Rivers.
With the victory the Sixers will be 9-4 as they head into a tough portion of their schedule with some back-back road games against the Grizzlies and Thunder on Saturday and Sunday, and then a match-up with the Boston Celtics on Monday. The Sixers seem to have come out a much stronger and deeper team. This stretch of games will test that theory. If they survive, they might be able to prove that they are a finals contender in the wide-open Eastern Conference.