By: Kylan Watson
After losing a heartbreaker to the Boston Celtics on Saturday night, the Philadelphia 76ers faced the Miami Heat for the first time this season. Philly wanted to get back to their winning ways and faced a desperate Heat team that was also looking to get back in the win column. The Heat were able to dictate the pace of this game and used a three-point barrage to beat Philly 101-99.
The Sixers did not start this game off well they were getting outhustled to the 50/50 balls and the Heat were able to get 19 more shots than them. Miami has been struggling from the three-point line, but they did not tonight they drowned Philly from the three-point line. They made 15/37 threes tonight and that forced the Sixers to move up. That opened up the lane for the cutters and Philly just had no answers for the Heat’s offense tonight. Jimmy Butler led them tonight. He scored 23-points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and had nine assists. He was pivotal down the stretch for the Heat, Butler capped off a late Heat possession where they did not have much going to split a double team and got a lay-up to put Miami ahead of the Sixers. That was indicative of this game for Philly so close but yet so far in tonight’s game they just could not get it together tonight despite the Heat giving this game away in the fourth quarter.
Despite the Sixers playing flat throughout most of this game they were able to turn the tables on the Heat in the third quarter. Tyrese Maxey and the second unit exploded in that quarter he scored 23-points and hit four three-pointers. He was the player that got the Sixers back in the game and kept them afloat just enough to finally take the lead and be in position to win this game. After not having a good game against Boston on Saturday. He finally played aggressively and got shots to fall and this will be how he needs to play especially in the playoffs to stay in the rotation. Maxey also came up with a key steal that led to a Melton and one lay-up that got Philly back in this game. If Maxey can improve on the defensive end, he can be the player that can help the Sixers go far in the playoffs. The Sixers were able to get one final look to seal this game and James Harden missed a buzzer beater off the back rim.
Philly will now prepare to face the Heat again on Wednesday night, they will need to stay attached to their defender and limit Miami to one shot per possession. The Sixers did not do any of those things tonight, and it gave Miami extra possessions that ended in three-pointers that found the bottom of the net. Additionally, they will need to continue moving the ball to get high-percentage shots. Some of Philly’s best possessions came when they kept the ball moving and found the open man. They did not cash in on some of them tonight. However, if they continue to make the right play the shot will start falling and they can get their 40th victory of the season on Wednesday night.