By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers were looking to rebound after falling to the Toronto Raptors last night. They faced a well-rested Miami Heat squad that was looking to extend the misery and win the season series. The Sixers used a fourth quarter explosion to beat the Heat 113-106.
The Sixers were missing their big guns to start this game as both Joel Embiid (back soreness) and James Harden (left hamstring maintenance) did not play tonight. So, the scoring for the Sixers had to come from somewhere else. Their teammates could not hit their shots early. As the Heat took full advantage of the power outage. Jimmy Butler led them he scored 27-points and was a force to be reckon with throughout this game. He attacked the paint with out much resistance and got Philly’s defenders in early foul trouble. Butler made Philly pay for daring to give him any space to get off a shot. The Heat were threatening to run the Sixers off their home-floor at the end of the first quarter.
Philly was able to weather the early storm and battle back to retake the lead by half-time. Tyrese Maxey (28-points), Shake Milton (20-points), and Furkan Korkmaz (18-points) led them. They combined for 66 of Philly’s 113-points. The trio took full advantage of the increase in shooting opportunities without Harden and Embiid off the court. Milton found himself tonight as he took the game over in the third quarter. He made the Heat pay for daring to give him any space to put a shot up. This was one of his best games of the season and if he can build off this and give the Sixers more of a scoring punch off the bench. That would be a big development for Philly.
Despite the explosion from Philly the Heat were able to battle back and trade buckets with the Sixers until late in the fourth quarter. That is when Maxey took the game over and had a coming out party of epic proportions. As he hit a couple of clutch three-pointers to put the game away for the Sixers. Maxey’s development has continued to be big for Philly and him single-handedly leading the team to a win will be big for his continued development as a player. If he continues the scoring explosion during the remaining 11-games of this season. Philly could be a dangerous team come the playoffs. Continuing to get consistent scoring from him should be a focal point for the Sixers for the rest of the season. Especially as they continue to look for rest opportunities for Harden and Embiid to keep them fresh for the postseason run.
The Sixers will now head to the west coast as they prepare for a Wednesday night primetime show-down with the Los Angeles Lakers. Philly will need another balanced scoring night if they want to keep-up with the Lakers. Additionally, they will need to play better perimeter defense. If they want to limit LeBron James and get their 45th win of the season.