Neither the Sixers nor the Heat had anything close to a full-strength team for Tuesday night’s game at the Wells Fargo Center.
For the first time in their last three races, however, the Sixers had an advantage in manpower. They managed to win dramatically, defeating a team of eight Heat in overtime with a score of 137-134 and an improvement to 8-4 this season.
Bidirectional player Dakota Mathias scored a three-pointer to continue with 26.1 seconds in overtime, his only points in the game. He then guarded Tyler Hero well, forcing Heath’s guard to miss a heavy three-pointer from the right wing.
Eight Miami players have been suspended for health and safety reasons. The Sixers had 1
Here are observations on the Sixers’ wild victory over the Heat:
The huge second half of Embiid (and OT), Simmons struggles
Veterans Danny Green and Mike Scott, who combined a 0 to 12 long-range shot in Atlanta, were actually the Sixers’ most productive offensive players in the opening half, a total of 25 of the team’s 55 points. Green continued to work after halftime, scoring 29 points and making 9 of 21 threes in the game. He does this long enough so as not to be discouraged by a bad photo at night or two.
Simmons created opportunities for three points for his teammates, as he usually does, but in the first half he was bad otherwise insulting. He tried only one field goal, turned it five times and scored three fouls, including two charges. We can’t put together a lot from one game in which a total of 18 players were active. And yet, even with his recent injury, it’s obviously fair to say that Simmons wasn’t the best on that particular night. He fouled with 3:29 left in regulation and finished with five points, six rebounds and 12 assists.
Joel Embiid took over in the third quarter, scoring 20 points during the period. The big man finished inside, drained jumpers, finished fouls, and did almost anything he wanted. The matches against rookie Precious Aciuva and Chris Silva were obviously favorable for Embiid, but he was still very impressive, especially on the second night in the back.
During a chaotic sequence at the end of the regulation, Green missed potentially three times for the green, and Embiid was fouled after grabbing the offensive ricochet. Head coach Doc Rivers then made an isolation at the top of the key for Embiid against Achiuwa in the ensuing out-of-bounds game, and he came in with a jumper to pull from his left elbow to tie the game.
In overtime, Embiid again played at the superstar level he had reached in the third quarter, hitting tightly contested jumpers and carrying the Sixers’ attack. His latest stats: 45 points, 16 rebounds, five steals, four assists.
Rivers said the Sixers focused on using Embiid in the middle of the floor to make the trap harder for the Heat. They took advantage of a a lot recently installed game after Simmons and Tyrese Maxey fouled.
“Sometimes life is luck,” Rivers said. “Today we worked on this play before the shot – it’s called ‘Delay’ – where we throw it in the middle, which is Joel, and he becomes your guardian in the plays. I didn’t know, I don’t know, that we would do it in full for the fourth quarter and overtime, because we had no choice but to do it. It’s funny, we laughed on the bench – it’s amazing. We’re working on it today and then it ends up as a savior for us. “
Embiid has always had high aspirations in mind, both for himself and the Sixers, and they seem achievable when he plays that way.
“The main goal is to win a championship and when it comes to individual prizes, that can’t happen unless you win games,” he said. “The main thing I’m worried about is winning, because at the end of the day, if we win and get the first seed, there’s no reason not to be an MVP, in the conversations of Defensive Player of the Year, All-NBA First Team and all these things.
“Everything comes back to the same thing – victory. The main goal is to win a championship.”
We figured the Sixers would stifle Heat’s crime with both Simmons and Embiid in the lineup. The team had a strong rating of 102.7 in defense when its two stars were on the floor this season to clean the glass, and Miami lacked important playmakers in Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic. Certainly against an exhausted opponent, the Sixers will look like the team that led the league in a defensive rating earlier this season. We made a mistake.
The Sixers allowed Miami’s sharp shooters too many open eyes, struggling to track players around the screens, helping excessively or simply not closing with enough urgency. They also committed several costly fouls by the shooters with jumps. Embid and Simmons on the court do not guarantee success in defense; Sixers still have to pay attention to the details at this end of the court.
The team’s efforts were slightly better in the second half, although Herro, Duncan Robinson and two-way player Gabe Vincent scored over 20 points and helped Miami come close to an incredible victory.
Rivers is not worried about the Sixers’ latest defense issues given the context.
“We have a stench in defense, I think, and that was the game in Brooklyn,” he said. “Besides, I don’t know what we can ask of our boys right now. We used to be one of the best defensive teams in this league. and I think we’ll get back to that once everyone comes back and gets well. “
Growing concern, added protocols
The match Sixers vs. Heat from Thursday will be given at 19:00 and will no longer be broadcast on TNT, the NBA announced. These games, in which both lists are shrunk by the COVID-19 protocols, are clearly not appealing to a national audience (although this one was certainly fun in the fourth quarter and sequels).
The NBA and NBPA announced additional health and safety protocols on Tuesday. Players must wear masks at all times on the bench, pre-meetings in the locker room are limited to 10 minutes and all attendees must wear masks, and players and team staff are prohibited from leaving their hotel or communicating with hotel guests. You can read the full press release about the new measures here.
“I think it comes from the outside in, so we just have to be more vigilant when we’re away from arenas and training facilities,” Rivers said before the game, “because I think it’s the safest place you can be. When we go out, the real world enters our bubble. “
The Celtics-Magic and Wizards-Jazz games, scheduled for Wednesday, have been postponed for health and safety reasons, making it six postponed NBA games this season. The Sixers are set to play twice with Boston next week.
It is underestimated that the last few days have been unfavorable for the NBA. There are currently fewer games left on the schedule, but both the health and safety situation and the imbalances in competition. They remain questions that are worth acknowledging, even on a night that sparked a wild game and an exciting ending.
“I’m looking at a young man like Maxie, he doesn’t know what the real NBA is,” said Dwight Howard. “He knows COVID NBA. and good. We’ll be fine. “