Neither the Sixers nor the Heat had anything close to a full-strength team for Tuesday’s game at the Wells Fargo Center.
For the first time in their last three competitions, however, the Sixers had a workforce advantage. They managed to capitalize dramatically and beat an eight-man Heat team in overtime with a score of 137-134 and improved to 8-4 on the season.
Two-way player Dakota Mathias nailed the clumsy three-pointer with 26.1 seconds left in overtime, his only point in the game. He then protected Tyler Herro well and forced the Heat Guard to miss a hard three from the right wing.
Eight Miami players were ruled out for health and safety reasons. The Sixers had 1
Here are observations of the Sixers’ wild victory over the Heat:
Embiid’s huge second half (and OT), Simmons’ matches
Veterans Danny Green and Mike Scott, who combined to shoot 0 for 12 from long range 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 kept going after the break, scoring 29 points and making 9 of 21 threes in the game. He’s done it long enough not to be put off by a bad shooting night or two.
Simmons created three-point opportunities for his teammates, as he usually does, but was otherwise poorly offensively in the first half. He attempted only one field goal, flipped it over five times and picked up three errors, including two charges. We can not get much from a single game where 18 total players were active. Still, even with his recent injury in mind, it’s fair to say that Simmons was nowhere near his best on this particular night. He rejected with 3:29 left in regulation and finished with five points, six rebounds and 12 assists.
Joel Embiid took over in the third quarter and scored 20 points during the period. The big man ended up inside, draining turn-round jumpers, making mistakes and doing almost everything else he wanted. Matchups against rookie Precious Achiuwa and Chris Silva were clearly favorable for Embiid, but he was still very impressive, especially the second night in a back-to-back.
During a chaotic order at the end of the regulation, Green missed a potential clear signal three and Embiid was destroyed after grabbing the offensive rebound. Head coach Doc Rivers then pulled an isolation at the top of the key for Embiid against Achiuwa in the ensuing out-of-bounds game, and he came through with a pull-up jumper from his left elbow to tie the game.
In overtime, Embiid played again at the superstar level he had reached in the third quarter, hitting tightly contested jumpers and carrying the Sixers’ offense. His last state line: 45 points, 16 rebounds, five steals, four assists.
Rivers said the Sixers focused on using Embiid in the middle of the floor to make catching more difficult for the heat. They benefited from one much recently installed games after Simmons and Tyrese Maxey wiped out.
“Sometimes life is luck,” Rivers said. “We worked on this piece today before the shootaround – it’s called” Delay “- where we throw it to the middle, which is Joel, and he becomes your point guard on pieces. I did I do not know we should run it completely in the fourth quarter and overtime because we had no choice but to run it. It’s funny, we laughed on the bench – it’s great. We work on it today and then end up. to be a savior for us. ”
Embiid has always had high hopes in mind, both for himself and the Sixers, and they look achievable when he plays like that.
“The main goal is to win a championship, and when it comes to individual prizes, it can only happen unless you win games,” he said. “The most important thing I’m worried about is winning, because if we win and we get the first seed, there’s no reason I should not be MVP, in Defensive Player of the Year talks, All-NBA First. Team and all that stuff.
“It all goes back to the same thing – to win. The main goal is to win a championship.”
We assumed the Sixers would strangle the Heat’s offense with both Simmons and Embiid in the lineup. The team had a strong 102.7 defensive rating as its two stars were on the floor this season per. Cleaning the glass, and Miami lacked key playmakers in Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic. Surely, against an impoverished opponent, the Sixers would look like the team that led the league in defensive judgment early this season. We were wrong.
The Sixers allowed Miami’s snipers too many open looks, struggling to track players around screens and helping too much or simply not closing with sufficient urgency. They also made several costly mistakes on jumpers. Embiid and Simmons are on the field do not guarantee defensive success; Sixers still need to pay attention to the details at that end of the court.
The team’s performance was slightly better in the second half, though Herro, Duncan Robinson and two-way player Gabe Vincent all scored over 20 points, helping Miami come close to an unlikely victory.
Rivers is not worried about the Sixers’ latest defensive problems in light of the context.
“We have a stinking defensive in my opinion, and that was the Brooklyn game,” he said. “Other than that, I do not know what we can ask of our guys right now. Before that we were one of the better defensive teams in this league and I think we will return to it when everyone comes back and gets healthy. ”
Growing concern, added protocols
Thursday’s Sixers vs. Heat games now tip at. 19 and is no longer broadcast on TNT, the NBA announced. These games, where both rosters are shrunk by COVID-19 protocols, are apparently not attractive to a national audience (though this one was certainly entertaining in the fourth quarter and overtime).
The NBA and NBPA announced additional health and safety protocols on Tuesday. Players must always wear masks on the bench, prior meeting rooms are limited to 10 minutes, and all participants must wear masks, and players and team members are prohibited from leaving their hotel or interacting with hotel guests. You can read the full press release about the new measures here.
“I think it comes from the outside and inside, and so we just have to be more attentive when we’re away from arenas and practice facilities,” Rivers said before the game, “because I think it’s the safest place you can be. . That’s when we go outside, when the real world comes into our bubble. ”
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 scheduled to play Boston twice next week.
It is an understatement to say that the last few days have been inaccurate for the NBA. Fewer games now remain on schedule, but both the health and safety situation and competitive imbalances have been worrying. They remain issues worth acknowledging, even on an evening that produced a wild game and exciting finish.
“I’m looking at a young guy like Maxey, he does not know what the real NBA is like,” said Dwight Howard. “He knows the COVID NBA. I know it’s a little hard for these guys, but we just try to keep them optimal, keep the mood nice and good. We feel good. ”