By: Kylan Watson
With momentum swinging from game to game in this series. The Philadelphia 76ers came in to game six with it all on the line. They had to start the game hot to force a game seven in Miami on Sunday night against the Heat. Miami used a third quarter explosion to destroy the Sixers 99-90 and move on to the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Sixers started the game off flat. They could not hit their shots early and they were allowing Miami to get whatever shot they wanted. Jimmy Butler (32-points) and Max Strus (20-points) led them. They combined for 52 of the Heat’s 99-points. Both killed the Sixers on both sides of the ball. They came up with some big shots to sink any chances the Sixers had in this game. Once again the Heat outrebounded and outhustled Philly. They didn’t have it in this game and a lot of that was thanks to the defense of Miami which stifled them.
Despite the offensive explosion from Strus and Butler. Philly was only down by a point at half-time. Then Miami turned up the heat on defense and force Philly into some game breaking turnovers. They just could not recover from their mistakes in this game. If it wasn’t for Shake Milton this game might have been worse for Philly. He scored 15-points to singlehandedly keep them in this game especially in the third quarter. He was one of the few people on the Sixers roster who came to play today. Miami was able to wear the Sixers out and Philly just was not deep enough to contend with them.
On what went wrong in this series, “When you talk about a physicality standpoint, they dominated us on the glass. They got what they wanted,” said Sixers Center Joel Embiid.
The Sixers will have some hard choices to make this offseason. They need to find a way to get some bench pieces. That was their undoing in this series. They were not deep enough to keep up with Miami. Daryl Morey and the rest of the Sixers front office made a bet that the talent of James Harden and Joel Embiid could overcome the deficiencies of this roster. That decision proved to be a bad bet. Philly will need to spend big on getting some back-ups who can hit shots and play defense. While the Harden extension looms large this offseason. The bigger thing that won’t get the attention it deserves is the need for some bench pieces who can hit and create their own shots. The Sixers need those guys more than they need another big-name at the expense of their depth.
On what needs to be looked at heading into the offseason, “At some point you’ve got to stop looking at the coaches and front office, and look at the players. When the other team is more physical than you, it’s on the players,” said Embiid
Miami will now prepare for the Eastern Conference Finals next week. The Sixers have a lot of holes to fill in this roster if they want to be a championship contender in the loaded Eastern Conference next season. They cannot afford to waste anymore time in the career of Joel Embiid.