By: Kylan Watson
As the series shifts to game four the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers renewed their hostilities. Philly was looking to continue building their newfound momentum to tie this series. The Heat continued to throw the punches on both sides of the ball. However, Philly was able to withstand the multiple surges and used a fourth quarter barrage to beat Miami 116-108.
The Sixers started the game off hot. They were able to hit their shots early on and forced Miami to make some earlier adjustments than they wanted to. James Harden led them. He scored 31-points and had nine assists. When his team needed him the most Harden had the answers. He saved a couple of possessions late in the game with some clutch lay-ups and three-point baskets to keep Philly in front. Harden looks like a different player with the return of Joel Embiid. He has more space to operate and attack the Heat’s defense. Him rediscovering himself is a big part of why this series is now tied. Harden will need to continue this streak especially with Joel Embiid still working his way back into form.
On what he expects from Joel Embiid, “I think the best is yet to come for Joel in this series,” said Sixers Head Coach Doc Rivers.
Miami continued to make things difficult for Philly. They weathered the early storm and were able to make things interesting throughout this game. Jimmy Butler led them, he scored 40-points (a game high). Like Harden he answered the call when his team needed it the most. Philly was threatening to run the Heat off their court late in the third quarter. Butler scored 16-points in that quarter to keep his team within striking distance. The Sixers continued to shut down his teammates and he ran out of gas late in the game. Miami will need to find away to get a bigger scoring output from someone not named Jimmy Butler. Since they came to Philly the shots have not been falling. With the series shifting to Philly that might change but the Sixers have turned up the heat defensively and made things more difficult for them.
On what his team needs to improve on as the series shifts back to Miami, “I don’t think we have played our best basketball. We have got a lot of adjustments and room to grow, so we have to learn from it, but we are far from playing our best basketball so that is the encouraging thing,” said Sixers Center Joel Embiid.
Now this series has turned into a best of three. If the Sixers want to continue to have momentum and take the decisive three-to-two lead. They will need to continue to get balanced scoring from their players. Additionally, Philly will need to continue to make things difficult for the Heat on the defensive end, and force them into taking more difficult shots. If that happens the Sixers maybe able to get their third victory in this series.